The Fruit of the Spirit series –Gentleness
by Barbara Latta
|The fruit of the spirit|
The harshness of parts of our world and society create the wrong image of gentleness. This trait from the Fruit of the Spirit may sometimes be overlooked because we attribute being gentle with weakness or letting someone run rough shod over us.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV).
Here are some examples of how Jesus used gentleness when dealing with sinners:
- The rich young ruler – Jesus told him what to do to have eternal life. The way He demonstrated this fruit didn’t condemn the seeker, yet Jesus was able to expose the condition of the man’s heart. The youth made the decision to turn away and Jesus was saddened by his response (Matthew 19:16-23).
- The adulterous woman – Jesus was gentle toward her, yet he didn’t condone her sin. She was given the option to stop sinning and we assume she went away and did what Jesus said (John 8:1-11).
- The tax collector – Zacchaeus was not condemned for being a tax collector which was what the small man expected. Jesus invited Himself to the house of this sinner and because of His willingness to do so, Zacchaeus saw God looking back at him and he repented (Luke 19:1-10).
- Peter - When this impulsive follower denied Christ, all the Savior had to do was look at His disciple and realization impaled Peter with the knife of regret. Yet after the Lord’s resurrection, Jesus restored Peter and made sure His follower knew forgiveness had been extended.
Every instance in the Bible where Jesus met sinners, He changed their lives by showing them the gentleness of the Spirit of God. Sin was not overlooked; rather, sin was repented of because of gentleness. You have also given me the shield of your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great (Psalm 18:35 NKJV).
|Jesus changed the lives of sinners through gentleness.|
But the Pharisees were treated differently because their hearts were hardened toward God. They had already decided in their hearts to reject Jesus so gentleness wouldn’t have worked with them. They had made themselves god by adding their own set of rules to the Law of Moses. Jesus knew what was in their hearts and He knew they were not going to change, so judgment was meted out to them (Mark 3:1-6, Matthew 23:1-36).
He was not gentle when dealing with the money changers who were abusing the Temple with their greed (Matthew 21:12-13).
We are told to restore those who have fallen with gentleness (Galatians 6:1-2). Someone coming out of sin doesn’t need judgment, they need restoration. This doesn’t mean sin is swept under the rug. If they are truly repentant, they have probably already beat themselves up with guilt. They don’t need others in the church helping them do more.
Restoring them in gentleness means giving them the Word of God to show Christ’s forgiveness. Showing kindness toward them without reminding them of their sin, and discipling them back into fellowship to grow in the Word will keep them out of future sin.
While someday there will be judgment extended to those who have rejected Christ, right now God is dealing with sinners with gentleness and mercy.
What does gentleness mean to you? Share your thoughts.