While this is probably not a theme we discuss much as believers—it is a virtue all Christians are called to exemplify. When I describe God, I often say that, like a coin–God has two sides (2 primary characteristics): He is Holy…and He is Love. When I think of God’s holiness I think of Him being…just, righteous, jealous, full of truth, mighty, and powerful. And when I contemplate the Love of God, I think of Him being…gracious, merciful, patient, kind and gentle.
Because God is Gentle—He calls His children to be gentle with others. Webster defines gentle as: mild in temperament or behavior; kind and tender; not harsh or severe.
As a virtue, gentleness is best demonstrated in conflict or strife. When life and circumstances are going well, then it’s easy for us to be gentle and kind. But when conflict surfaces—it is easy (for me) to lay aside a gentle spirit and become harsh (or combative)…especially at home—and especially as a parent of 3 young men!
We see God’s gentleness come to light in the context of our sin that is directed towards Him. God doesn’t ignore our sin…or pretend that it doesn’t exist—but he is gentle with us in His correction…He is tender and kind—even in our rebellion towards Him. His desire is for us to return to Him in humility and repentance, and the environment most conducive for this to happen is in the context of gentleness—not His anger. This is true of our relationship with God…and it should be true in our relationships with others—especially in our homes. So…Nathan confronted King David with great humility and gentleness…and David repented. It is also in the context of gentleness that God confronts our sin…with the hope that it leads us to repentance—rather than further rebellion against Him! Romans 2:4 says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”
As mentioned earlier–God is gentle—and He calls us to treat others with gentleness. Eph. 4:1-2 says, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,”.
Gentleness is not a natural response towards conflict and sin—but it is God’s response. We should all regularly draw upon the power of God’s Holy Spirit in order to produce one of God’s precious fruits…the fruit of gentleness! For the fruit of the Spirit is…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Again, Gentleness is not a “natural” response—but it is a Godly response that others need from us! May we all draw upon the work of God’s Spirit and bear the Godly fruit of gentleness—in all our dealings with others…for His Glory!