*I was honored to write this guest post in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit, with Jennifer at Minding the Kings!
Gentleness – Divinely-Balanced Strength
By Melissa McLaughlin
When you hear the word “gentleness” what comes to mind?
One example that comes to my mind is that of my own children handling our beloved cats using a soft, steady, slow stroke to cuddle, nestle and shower them with affection. From kittenhood through the aged years, these memories of tenderness speak of their deep love for our treasured pets. Another picture of gentleness is that of an accomplished pianist who uses just the right touch on the keys of the piano to express the most intimate and deep emotions through the subtle shading of delicate notes creating an inexpressibly stirring mood through music.
If my children roughly grabbed the kittens or the pianist banged on the piano keys with a hammer, this would create a completely different scene and an averse response in my mind and heart. In fact, I would feel compelled to intervene as quickly as possible to stop my children from hurting another living creature and I would immediately cease watching or listening to the pianist who used a beautiful instrument for something so destructive.
The Power of Gentleness
In both cases, the gentle person actually wields remarkable power, but chooses to hold back out of love, grace and honor. Though the world often dismisses gentleness as weakness, true Biblical gentleness is actually strength in control.
God has given us many gifts and choices, including various types of power and the choice for how to exercise that power.
We have power in our words.
We have power in the way we wait.
We have power in the way we drive.
We have power in the way we express our emotions.
We have power in the way we complete our daily work.
We have power in the way we touch people and objects.
We have power in the way we respond to correction or hurtful circumstances.
We see gentleness listed among the Godly characteristics defined as the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
When we display gentleness to others, our power is harnessed by God’s love, grace and honor, allowing His kindness to leave its imprint of mercy in our harsh, self-seeking world.
When considering the Fruit of the Spirit, we recognize gentleness, also known as meekness, as a high calling indeed. Gentleness is a critical quality for Christians because we know God has shown gentleness toward us.