But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
I am blessed with two fine boys to help raise. God willing, I want them to be strong men of God one day; accomplishing much for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes I feel that I am too hard on them. The other day, I yelled at one of them sternly to obey me. He crouched and whined in fear. His mother came running into the room to see what was wrong. We laughed because we were only pretending to tease her. (I got some of you, too, didn’t I?) Raising boys, however, I have often commented to my wife that it was probably good that I didn’t have girls. I would probably make them cry too much.
I have to be careful, even though boys often require firmness, that I treat them with gentleness as well.
Gentleness is not weakness. Gentleness does not mean I don’t discipline my children, but it does mean I have to discipline with love. Gentleness is the quality of the fruit of the Spirit, which determines the tone of the grip we have on life. We can’t act like “bulls in a china shop” in trying to get our way, or even in trying to enforce what we know to be the Lord’s will.
I suspect Jesus was a man’s man. He was a carpenter in the days before power tools. He could probably carry His own weight. Still, when the Pharisees who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery confronted Jesus; He didn’t gruffly turn on them in anger. Instead, Jesus gently knelt to the ground and began writing in the dirt. He quietly (I picture Him) said to the accusers, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”. Jesus handled even His anger in gentleness. (Even when Jesus overturned the tables in the temple, He acted in calmness. He took time before acting to make a whip. John 2:15)
Oh, yes, we are called to display gentleness; even us manly men. We are called to bring gentleness into our homes, into our work places, and into the marketplace. We are called to act gently towards those who are easy to love and those who are not. Dear Christian, let our gentleness be evident to all! (Philippians 4:5)
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