Gentleness can be defined as withholding one’s power even when using such power is justified. This attribute is exemplified in Jesus Christ. He is fully God, and when He walked the earth as a man, he could’ve destroyed His enemies. However, He withheld that power and treated His accusers in a gentle manner, never in a harsh or spiteful way.
A practical application for exhibiting gentleness is when we share the gospel. Often times, the gospel is met with anger, suspicion, resentment, disinterest, or even hatred. It’s important that when we share the gospel or answer questions about our faith, that we act with gentleness, for Proverbs 15:1 reads:
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Likewise when teaching others, it’s tempting to flaunt one’s knowledge to appear wise or intelligent. However, behaving in such a way can intimidate or overwhelm someone. We are called to be gentle, obeying the Lord’s will for us and growing into more Christ-likeness.
While we are called to gentleness, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that we are not called to discipline or correct others in particular situations, sometimes in a strict manner. Indeed, the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and there may be times when we are called to be strict when dealing with people.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
- Make a list of the areas in your life where you have “power” in relation to others. Under each area, make two columns and identify ways in which you have subverted that power in order to treat others with gentleness and ways in which you might have abused your power. Spend time in prayer over your lists, seeking God’s growth in these areas.
- People in authority often need to correct others. Sometimes the correction is right but the approach is wrong because it is lacking in gentleness. Is there anyone close to you who needs to hear you apologize for correcting without gentleness? Go and apologize.