Pastoral Support: Let’s Look at the Fruits of Why & How to Serve with Gentleness
Gentleness. It sounds a bit wimpy, doesn’t it? The idea of being gentle comes off as a, “have it your way, I don’t want to assert myself,” approach. But nothing could be further from the true grit and strength of this essential life quality. This is an important topic that may be of help to you personally or spark some ideas for sermons.
Pastoral Support: How to Help Yourself or Others Grasp Gentleness Better
Who is a person you know that exhibits gentleness? Do you picture them as a person of strength or weakness? Most likely it is strength. They are self-controlled but also assertive, calm but also passionate, and responsive to others but still intensely focused. What makes people gentle is that they are not given to harshness, outbursts of anger, resentment, or bitterness.
Jesus declared in Matthew, chapter five, verse five, “Blessed are the gentle…” In other words, the people who have a whole life, a full life, and a happy life are the people who are gentle.
People often think, “Yeah, right, maybe in the robe and sandal world of the first century, but this is the fatigues and army boots world of the twenty-first century. There’s no room for gentleness unless you want to get stepped on.”
But the apostle Paul exhorts us to, “Be completely humble and gentle…” (Ephesians 4:2, NIV).
Gentleness is what God, by His Spirit, wants to produce in each of our lives.
“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).
What are Aspects & Actions of Gentleness?
- Gentleness is controlled strength. Have you been to the gym and watched the bodybuilders lift heavy weights? At times, they realize they aren’t going to get it up over their head or they can’t hold it so they let the weights drop. They hit the floor with a jarring thud and bounce a little before coming to rest. In the gym that I go to you aren’t allowed to drop the weights. You must control the weight all the way down to the floor before you let go. It’s controlled strength.
- Gentleness is strength that is harnessed, channeled, and controlled to produce the good God wants in your life and the lives of those around you.
- Gentleness is a relational skill. It’s not about who we are in isolation, but who we are in relationship with others. It means we are patient with those we like and get along with easily as well as those who irritate us and rub us the wrong way. This requires humility. We need to not think too highly of ourselves, not see ourselves as better than others, and not live with a defensive chip on our shoulders.
- Gentleness is an active attitude, not just passive submission.
- Gentleness is not giving up; it is taking charge. It means taking charge of your behavior (your reactions to negative people and events). You won’t drift into gentleness. You must determine and strive to harness the power of your words and actions, and use them for good.
How do you practice the strength and restraint of gentleness?
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