But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.~Galatians 5:22-23a CSB
“Being a good nurse means leaving one patient’s room with tears in your eyes and greeting the patient in the next room with a smile on your face.”
Mother was describing the importance of staying calm, sometimes in distressing situations, while carrying out the duties of being a nurse in the small-town hospital where she worked and in the small town and rural community in which she lived. Mother told me how she considered the most important trait of being a nurse was acting with gentleness toward her patients and coworkers; she added that, in her eyes, anything less than giving her best would be sub-standard.
Whenever I read about or think of gentleness, my mother comes to mind. She was kind to everyone, and gentle; she loved people, and I never heard her speak ill of anyone. When I was growing to adulthood, I never imagined how strong Mother was. Of course, I knew she had been a nurse and had also served as a midwife at times. I remember hearing one of my teachers telling us that it takes a strong person to act with gentleness. At the time I did not know how that could be so.
While I was growing up, Mother did private-duty nursing. Her patients were mostly neighbors who needed a helping hand during various health crises. Still, I had no real idea of Mother’s life as a nurse in the years before I was born. One of the things my Aunt Tommie had told me after Mother died was that, after graduating from nursing school and under the direction of the local doctor, making occasional house calls in her rural community had been a necessary part of her duties. Mother was a strong woman in the ways which counted, in her work and in her faith in God. Her strength was tempered with an underlying gentleness.
Gentleness is sometimes translated as “meekness.” We often think of meekness as weakness, but they are not the same thing. Being gentle or meek is to act with humility, using restrained behavior in our interaction with others. As we talk to other people about our faith, God wants us to do so with kindness. When we take on the nature of Jesus, we take on His gentleness.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.~Matthew 11:29 ESV
“The power and gentleness of God were revealed in Christ” (A Layman’s Guide to the Fruit of the Spirit, by T. David Sustar, Copyright 1990, Pathway Press). Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived, and He had a gentleness and kindness which drew others. Yet, He was strong and powerful.
As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we learn to trust His wisdom and His leadership. He is concerned with our spiritual growth and wants us to by led by His Holy Spirit, so we can be filled with the fruit of gentleness, as well as the other Fruit of the Spirit. And, as Matthew said in his gospel, when we take Jesus’s yoke upon ourselves, we will find rest for our souls.
Teaching gentleness to our children and grandchildren is very important, and they learn this by our example. When we exemplify the Fruit of the Spirit, they learn from us how to treat others. Another way to teach them the different aspects of God is to help them memorize passages from the Bible. My grandson is in kindergarten at a Christian school and is enjoying learning Bible verses. I have listed some verses below, which are probably familiar to you and simple enough for children to learn:
- “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5 NIV).
- “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 NASB).
- “Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love” (Ephesians 4:2 CEB).
- “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 1:15 RSV).
We can be deliberate in seeking out ways to show gentleness in our interaction with others. As we greet them, a smile goes a long way. Our friendliness can bless those we meet, even when we do not know them well. It shows them we care, and that we are interested in them. We never know how small acts of kindness might affect their lives, both here and throughout eternity.
By taking on the nature of Jesus, we have countless opportunities to bless others. As we grow in our relationship with Him, we find we can love Jesus by showing love to those He brings into our lives. Our walk with Him becomes a blessing to us and to others, as we take seriously our mandate to live out the fruit of the Spirit.
List on an index card, ways you can live out the fruit of gentleness. Place this somewhere you can refer to daily.
Father God, please reveal Your great gentleness to me, as I call upon You. Show me how to be more intentionally gentle in my relationships with my family and friends and in my relationship with You. I also pray for those reading this Bible study who do not know You as Savior and Lord. Please draw them to Yourself and to Your great faithfulness. I thank and praise You.
In the holy name of Jesus. Amen.
Copyright 2021: The Fruit of Gentleness: Evelyn Mason Wells: All Rights Reserved