“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)
This month as we take a closer look at the Fruit of the Spirit, let’s narrow in on GENTLENESS.
The Oxford Languages Dictionary defines the noun gentleness as “the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered.” None of which refer to a person as being weak, which many people tend to think about someone who is gentle.
I have often found the opposite to be true in the workplace. The staff whom I have worked with who displayed gentleness in how they treated their clients and coworkers were some of the strongest and skilled people I know. Their gentleness drew people to them with questions, a shoulder to cry on, or a request for help knowing that they would be respected in their response.
I believe Jesus was a gentle man, as He often asked questions to have people self examine and realize what their issue was versus pointing it out to them. He could have condemned each person, Jew and Gentile, who caused Him to be on the cross, yet He forgave them and spoke gently to them.
Jesus showed us that there was another way for us to live, one where we can be led by the Spirit. He worked, ministered and mentored with the Holy Spirit, and we can as well.
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Galatians 5:22-23 MSG)
“The fruit of the Spirit is not push, drive, climb, grasp and trample. Life is more than a climb to the top of the heap.” - Richard J. Foster
Being gentle doesn’t mean we climb over others, nor does it mean we are weak for not having a killer business instinct. It means we treat others with respect as His creations, and demonstrate care as we interact with them, regardless of circumstances. Just as Jesus used His power in a non harmful way, we can do the same!
Living this way is only possible with God’s help, which is why I believe gentleness was included as a part of the Fruit of the Spirit.
“For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Corinthians 4:20-21)
This month, ask God to help you express yourself with a spirit of gentleness as you invite Holy Spirit to guide you at work. And as we work through the book of Proverbs this year, remember to implement Proverbs 15:4 in your conversations, responses and actions:
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
The Message version of Proverbs 15:4 makes it even more clear,
“Kind (gentle) words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.”
May God bless you as you bless others through expressing yourself with gentleness.
Karla, Guest Blogger