Saturday, 9 November 2019

The fruit of the Spirit is...gentleness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit… Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. – Galatians 5.22-25; 6.1

Somehow, at least in the circles I have been involved in for a good chunk of my Christian life, gentleness is one of the least mentioned fruits of the Spirit. I have spent a lot of time learning how, men especially, are supposed to be tough. The mark of a man is what a tough guy he is. Men who are gentle are often looked as with suspicion. I once was talking to a pastor about how much I appreciated another man and the pastor I was talking to said some about ‘oh, that limp wrist.’

I know we are supposed to be soldiers and warriors and athletes in the faith. I know we are to part of the army of God and to earnestly contend for the faith.

Jesus called Himself gentle. The servant of God must be gentle. The requirements for pastors includes gentleness.

Not too long ago a razor company did an ad which attempted to present this aspect of true manhood. It was lambasted on many fronts, including a lot of Christians who felt like it downplayed the toughness required of a ‘real man.’

I thought though that they had a point. The ‘macho’ man, the tough guy, and the bully type are the men who seem to be admired and elevated. It would be bad enough if it was just the world, but the church has adopted that same attitude in many ways.

Of course ‘men must be men’ and we have a masculine role in society. We do have to fight the good fight of faith and we do need to be strong.

But at the same time there does need to be a gentleness about us. One of the characteristics of a pastor is that he must not ‘be a brawler’ looking for a fight. The fight may come, but godly men are not to be looking for the fight.

I think gentleness and meekness go hand in hand. Meekness has been defined as ‘power under control.’ Just because the power is there doesn’t mean we always have to use it. The Holy Spirit shows Himself through us  in a gentle, loving, compassionate life.

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