Being gentle doesn’t mean being a pushover or not standing up for what is good and right. It does mean weighing your words and measuring your response in each and every situation so you don’t cause damage with a harsh and ungodly reaction. When we are hurt, afraid, embarrassed or angry our natural tendency is to retaliate. We’ve all lost our temper and made fools of ourselves. The Holy Spirit wants to produce the fruit of gentleness in our lives so that we don’t over-react and say things we’ll regret later or cause damage to our relationships. We cannot produce gentleness without the help of the Holy Spirit; it’s a gift from God. Yet gentleness is also a decision. As a follower of Jesus Christ we each have a choice to make. We must choose to be connected to God or the fruit-producing nutrients will not flow into our lives enabling us to produce fruit.
Lk 6:45, 9:41, 54, 15:20; Jn 15:5, 8; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 3:20, 4:2, 29; Phil 2:4-5, 4:5; Js 3:6; 2 Pe 1:6-7; 1 Ki 19:11-12; Ps 121:1-2; Pr 15:4
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… (Gal 5:22-23) “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement. (Pr 15:4) Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Eph 4:2)
People who produce gentleness in their lives place their personality under the control of the Holy Spirit. We have all met that person who says, “This is just how I am and I’m not going to change.” That’s a sad scenario. We all have natural tendencies and inclinations but God wants to make us better than we could ever be on our own. When people disappoint you and don’t live up to your expectations, do you judge them or respond with gentleness. A shattered expectation is an opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to grow and mature you. There is power in gentleness. Attitude is everything! Placing your attitude under the control of the Holy Spirit will affect your words and your actions. Your perspective determines your response. Seeing things through the eyes of another person and trying to see things through God’s eyes changes everything. Becoming more understanding and gracious about the weaknesses, limitations and struggles of others helps us to find more joy and to grow an attitude of gentleness. Put your communication under God’s control. Words are powerful. What you say can either build someone up or tear them down. Producing gentleness means thinking before you speak, write, tweet, text or post. Pause and give the Holy Spirit time to instruct your tongue. Saying words that do good to those who hear should be the goal. Handling people with care is the overall goal of gentleness. Peaches must be handled gently or they bruise and the fruit is damaged. People must also be handled gently.
Is your natural personality more judgmental or gentle? What are your rough edges? When a person doesn’t live up to your expectations, how do you respond? If a family member, friend or co-worker knows they have let you down, are they afraid to face you? Why or why not? Is your attitude generally positive or negative? Why or why not? What makes your attitude take a turn for the better? What makes it take a turn for the worse? What are some tips for maintaining a positive attitude? Would people say you weigh a situation before you weigh in? Do you allow the Holy Spirit to filter your words before you speak? Share a occasion when you were not gentle and how it turned out. Share an occasion when you were gentle and how that turned out.
Stop, weigh and measure. Stop before you say something damaging. Weigh every situation before you comment. Measure your words so they are for the good of those who hear. Journal your successes and failures. Pray for God’s help that you may grow in gentleness.
Dear Father in Heaven, may the words of my mouth be acceptable to you. May my words and actions reflect an attitude of gentleness. Help me to see with your perspective so that I can be more loving and caring and gentle with my friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Thank you for continuing to love me when I let you down. May I show the same gentle acceptance to those around me. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.