Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Fruit of the Spirit: Day 10: Gentleness


Looking around the world, gentleness can often seem in very short supply. It is often seen as a soft word, a sign of weakness. You would be unlikely to find it on the lips of an aspiring world leader or a military general. Yet this is a word which Jesus uses to describe himself “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11.29) It is the same word he uses in the Beatitudes, translated there as “meek” – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”. In God’s economy, meekness, smallness and gentleness are not the opposite of power but the gateway to it.

Although Jesus could be angry when he needed to confront abusive systems and people (Matt 21.12) he is consistently gentle with those who are poor, sick or vulnerable, treating them with a courtesy that many of them were probably unused to. Gentleness gives other people space to be themselves and to move at their own pace. Gentle people don’t feel the need to impose their own agenda or meet their own needs; they don’t need to make others feel small so that they can feel big. Their words are carefully chosen to build people up rather than pull them down. As Proverbs 15.4 puts it, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life”.

·         Can you find any examples of gentleness – or its absence - in the news today?
·         Gentle people often go unnoticed. Try to notice and affirm gentleness around you today.
·         Pray: that God would show you where or to whom you need to be gentle (including yourself!)

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