The Fruit of the Spirit–Gentleness

📅 July 31, 2020

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness…

Whenever I prepare a lesson or article, I always head first to the Bible online and find out how many times a particular word is used. Depending on the word I am researching, I can find thousands of mentions on hundreds of pages, then careful selections must be made.

In the case of today’s study, there are a mere 9 mentions and I have the rare opportunity to include the entire list. They all but organized themselves into a concise outline with an eloquent message.      

The 5th Fruit of the Spirit is Gentleness, a trait which, unfortunately, appears to have long since gone out of fashion, and is neither valued nor sought out as a quality worth acquiring.

Or so it appears. More’s the pity.   

Let us state at the outset: because a person can be described as “gentle” does not imply he lacks principles or the courage to stand by them.

In the first place, God the Father is gentle.

2 Samuel 22:36. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Psalms 18:35. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Further, Jesus was gentle.

Yes, He drove the moneychangers from the temple and He called the scribes and Pharisees a “generation of vipers,” but He also took little children on His lap, fed hungry people, stopped to heal a woman who touched the hem of His garment, sat on a well to talk to a woman no one else would speak to. He silently defended the woman caught in adultery by stooping down and writing in the sand.

No one who approached Him with open heart and outstretched hand—no matter how black their sin—left His presence feeling berated and small.  

He did not overlook sin, or excuse it, and He often reproved His disciples for their lack of faith, but He was gentle in His reproofs and infinitely patient in his exhortations. So says the apostle Paul.

2 Corinthians 10:1. Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ…

The wisdom that comes from God is gentle.

James 3:17. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Walking in Jesus’ steps, as we are commanded to do, possessing His wisdom, we are to be gentle servants.

1 Thessalonians 2:7. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

2 Timothy 2:24. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

Titus 3:2. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

And what, you may ask, am I supposed to do when people are not gentle with me?

1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

Have someone in authority over you who is “froward”? That is, “unreasonable”?

This brings us full circle.

Here’s the answer in the rest of the chapter:

I Peter 2: 19, 21-23. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

One of my favorite verses about the gentleness of God:

Isaiah 42:3— A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench… 

What is weaker than the bruised reed or the smoldering wick? Weak things are here described; yet Jesus says of them, “The smoldering wick I will not quench; the bruised reed I will not break.” Some of God’s children are made strong to do mighty works for Him, but the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. Yet, weak as they are, and because they are so weak, they have this promise made especially to them.

Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and loving-kindness! How it opens to us the compassion of Jesus—so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him; though He might well chide us for our weakness, He rebukes not. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoldering wick no damping frowns. Charles Spurgeon

The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness.


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Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.


Semi-Finalist - 2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition - Florida Writer's Association