Gentleness // Fruits of the Spirit //
This week's Fruit was written by one of my dearest friends, Sheridan. Being a passionate writer, she has her own blog, which I highly recommend you check out here. She posts regularly, and to keep up with all that God is doing in and through her, please go pay her a visit! The way she walks and talks with such gentleness is a quality I long to have. Without further ado, I am proud to present Sheridan's post on GENTLENESS.
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.
My parents were full of bologna when they told me this. Growing up chubby and sporting a birthmark on my forehead, I was often the target of verbal attacks from school bullies. I would have rather they punched me, I at least had the cushion to absorb any blows. Words cut deeper and leave everlasting scars. I'm thinner now and Harry Potter had made forehead scars a trendy thing, but I find it ironic that I've developed a tendency to strike at others with my words.
I'm a writer, naturally I find strength in my words. I'm also human, unfortunately I'm more inclined to hurt rather than heal. Gentleness is not my forte.
Of all the Fruits of the Spirit, I think gentleness is often overlooked because it's not well understood. I still struggle to understand it. It's easy to brush it off and misinterpret it to be a synonym for weakness, but I'm learning it's far from that.
Gentleness is strength under control.
It's recognizing you have the power to hurt someone back, but you resist doing so out of love. It's practicing patience and exercising kindness, strengthening peace and unity in the body. It's taking joy in the Father's goodness and faithfulness as He continues to show His gentleness towards us. In short, gentleness is the culmination of all the Fruits in one bite.
Where I fall short of gentleness is because of my pride. However, a gentle spirit saves no room for self. It's all about putting others first out of love. After all. Christ Himself put us before His own life.
Gentleness requires humility.
"Live and work without pride. Be gentle and kind. Do not be hard on others. Let love keep you from doing that." Ephesians 4:2 (NLV)
Cultivating a spirit of gentleness shows that you have value and respect others. It's the only real way to show you care. I can say I care about my family, friends and neighbors all day long, but if my spirit, my words and my attitude do not reflect gentleness then I am a liar. Not only that, if I refuse to humble myself with a gentle spirit, I place myself in a dangerous mindset above the Father. God has all the power and might in the universe, yet He is gentle. I am only a speck of dust compared to Him - how can I ever be so arrogant?
Gentleness is not a sign of weakness.
We cannot confuse it for being a pushover. Gentleness is all about expressing wisdom and love. It allows us to trust the Father enough to put our strength in His guidance.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29 (NIV)
As I strive to be more like Christ and reflect His character to the people around me, I must allow Him to cultivate a spirit of gentleness within me. When I feel threatened or cheated, when I am angry and frustrated, when I am annoyed and irritable, I must yield to His spirit rather than my own impulsiveness. As an heir to His Kingdom, I am called to a higher standard. I am called to love in all gentleness.
Photos by Sheridan Block.