I'm not going to sugar-coat this- I am not gentle.
My version of gentleness comes with blunt communication, loudness, and a hint of bossy. I would love to be the poster-child for "a quiet and gentle spirit", but that doesn't come so naturally. I pride myself in communicating well, being willing to talk about the hard stuff, loving on people decently well, and being awkwardly funny.
But I am not fooling anyone with the fact that my domineering tendencies can hinder the trait of gentleness.
Gentleness, however, is a fruit of the Spirit. Gentleness means that you are sensitive to the feelings of others as you speak with them. It means speaking the truth in love (emphasis on the love). Gentleness does not mean you glaze over the truth, but it does mean that you aren't blunt or rude in your words or actions.
Honestly, I am excellent at being gentle with people I don't know as well- the people I still worry what they think. But when it comes to being gentle around the people who know me best, who I am myself around (particularly my husband), I am anything but gentle.
Don't get me wrong, there's a place for tough-love every once in a while. And sometimes, what's right is to tell someone exactly how it is, even if they won't like it. But God still calls us to live in gentleness, which tells me that both sides of the spectrum can be accomplished.
Gentleness, in my eyes, is also a form of humility.
If I am puffed up with pride, I am not going to handle a situation with gentleness- no, I will be self-focused and unable to see any point of view but my own.
But gentleness says "I will listen and talk about this calmly, because I'm not perfect either." Gentleness refrains from blowing up, but chooses to remain calm instead. So in that way, gentleness is also tied to self-control.
1 Peter 3:15-16 gives us an excellent view of what gentleness really means and looks like:
You see, regardless of my natural tendencies, God still calls me to be gentle.
This doesn't mean I have to pretend I'm someone I'm not.
This doesn't mean that it is wrong to be outgoing, or that I can't make people laugh. On the contrary, we all have different and beautiful personalities.
But, what it does mean is that my heart needs a little Spring-cleaning. I need a heart that is loving and gentle towards all people, no matter what the situation.
I need a gentle spirit whether I am talking to a homeless person, my husband, my mom, or my worst enemy. It doesn't matter. I am stilled called to gentleness towards them in my words, my heart, my thoughts, and my actions.
I can't do this on my own- neither can you.
This is only accomplished through asking God to continuously correct us and make us clean.
This is only accomplished by steady perseverance as we try our best to do better in God's strength. Not in our own strength- that would accomplish nothing.
Ask Him, and He will give it. It may be a slow process, but He will mold us. We may never reach the point we'd like to get to on this earth, but rest assured, He will continue working on us until that day that we join Him in Heaven.
He who began a good work in us will carry it out until completion. (Phil. 1:6)
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Kristin Cook is a Christian Lifestyle Blogger - she writes at The Peculiar Treasure- who has lived her whole life in the most gorgeous state in existence: North Carolina! She is crazy in love with her husband, her family, her three dog-daughters, and quiet mornings spent with coffee-in-hand. She desires to love, serve, and please God more and more each day, and to embrace the freedom and grace He has lavished on her.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Gentleness with us today, Kristin!
How do you see gentleness being produced in your life? Is it an area you struggle with?
Stay tuned for the rest of our study in the Fruit of the Spirit!
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