by Greg Thomas
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-29).
One of the attributes of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is His gentleness. We know of course that He was not gentle in the face of the opposing religious leaders, but that He was gentle in how He interacted and treated those around Him. He was found to be kind, patient, and meek among the people. Jesus did not behave as the nation had expected the Messiah, the King, to act. But as Matthew records, gentleness was one of the characteristics of Messiah prophesied by Zechariah: “Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey” (Matthew 21:5).
God desires all believers to be conformed to the image of His Son, which involves our ongoing sanctification. The Holy Spirit guides each one of us as a believer to put off that which should not be a part of our lives and to put on that which conforms to the image of Christ.
Each one of us is to be evaluated by the Lord as gentle toward one another, as it is a fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:23, which is the product of the Spirit’s work in us. Gentleness is a characteristic commanded of the believer, but it is produced by the Holy Spirit who resides in each of us.
Gentleness is not a virtue encouraged in today’s world. Those of the world have conduct characterized by selfishness, pride, critical speech, and jealousy. This behavior is promoted as the way to get ahead and get what you desire. In stark contrast, we are called to treat one another as we have been treated by God.
In Psalm 18:35, David recounts the manner with which God had moved in his life by rescuing him from the hand of King Saul. “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great.” David reflected on the gentle manner with which the Lord had dealt with him and responded that the Lord’s gentleness with him is what made David great.
A godly, gentle way is to be a part of every aspect of our lives as believers.
Gentleness in conversation with one another. I am to be kind and humble in my speaking to others.
Proverbs 15:1: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to respond to each person.
Gentleness in conduct toward one another. The Lord’s patience and gentleness displayed in how He has dealt with each one of us in our lives, is to be a motivator for me to do likewise toward others so as to promote the unity of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:1-2: Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Gentleness in compassion for one another. I must always keep in mind the gentle compassion of the Lord toward my own personal sin debt. My gentle spirit is to a reflection of the gentleness that the Lord has shown to me.
Colossians 3:12-13: So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentlenests and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Gentleness in correction of one another. I may need to be corrected by fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, who in love and with a gentle spirit, point me to the instruction of God’s Word. I must be gentle as I seek for the good of others as well.
Galatians 6:1-2: Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
Every aspect in the life of the local body of Christ is to be carried forth in a spirit of gentleness, which all begins in the life of the individual believer. How would others describe my walk of gentleness? I am to be as gentle toward others as the Lord has been with me.
May I agree with David the psalmist, “Your gentleness makes me great.”