In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul writes, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control.” (5:22)
What is “gentleness?” The Greek word Paul used here is usually rendered either as “gentleness” or “meekness”. It is a word that point at strength that is under control, power used in a particularly measured way.
Jesus is the model of GENTLENESS. We see this fruit reflected in by Jesus’ own words:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
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.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Let’s consider an example of Jesus showing gentleness. In John 8, there is the story of the encounter Jesus had with a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. She was guilty. Jesus could have judged her harshly. According to the Law of Moses she deserved condemnation. She deserved punishment. She deserved judgment. But Jesus treats her gently. He shamed her accusers into slinking away. Then he said to her, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go your way and sin no more.” That’s an example of GENTLENESS, power under control for a greater purpose.
Although Jesus certainly has the authority to judge each person for his or her sin, Jesus always kept his power under control. He did not come just to judge. Rather, he came to seek and to save the lost.
There is a road sign that is posted as you enter the State of Maryland that reads: “Please Drive Gently” It’s perhaps a quaint and slightly odd phrase, but the idea is to drive a vehicle with the power and strength of that vehicle full under your control. When we have the spirit at work within us, we can show such gentleness in our live together.
Please treat one another gently.