Weekly Sabbath Survey
Gentleness — 2-27-2016
Gentleness is a product (or ‘fruit’) of the Holy Spirit. It is an attribute that will be exhibited and manifested in the life of those who are filled with and led by Him. (Galatians 5:22) The Biblical word “fruit” in this context is a Greek term referring to “agricultural produce picked or plucked.” It can be singular or plural. A piece of fruit would be singular; a basket of fruit would be plural. It could mean a basket of apples or a basket of various kinds fruit.
The fruit of the Spirit grows and develops in the Believer’s life over time. It is spiritually visible to those who know him/her. The Believer may exhibit the presence of Holy Spirit Himself, or the various attributes of Him which are different from one another. People in the Believer’s life can pick/pluck this fruit when that person ministers to them. As when one person receives love or peace or joy from the other person.
This fruit called “gentleness” is defined as “moral excellence in demeanor.” I have known people like that, both men and women. There moral excellence showed itself in gentleness. I have a good friend who has this beautiful attribute in her life. She’s a ray of sunshine. Her gentle demeanor is her A-Game. When she speaks, it’s soft and unhurried. Her heartiest laugh is sweet, subdued. She makes me feel safe, never threatened. No hint of disapproval. She is honest with me, when I need it, but always gentle.
I have to confess that gentleness is not always my strong suit. My speech can be too loud, my demeanor too confident, and therefore, some folks are threatened by me. My laugh is hearty and rowdy like a big-bosomed bar maid in a noisy saloon in Indian Territory. (Like I was a charm school dropout!) I have some of the spirit fruit going on pretty well, but gentleness is not as much. I do not push doors closed but give them a hefty swing as I come and go, which some people call “slamming” the door. As it stands now, I’m still more of a Scarlet O’Hara than like her sweet long-suffering cousin, Melanie. When I feel in opposition with others, I may have a difficult time remembering my Southern manners. On some occasions, expressions like “fiddle-dee-dee” and “bless your little heart” are just gone from my lexicon. So, the only way “gentle” is real for me, is mostly when the Lord does it for me. Since it isn’t a born-in-me-natural personality trait, whenever it happens I always know it is HIM. And I pray it keeps happening more often.
That being said, there are times when a forceful response to another person’s bad behavior or uninformed opinions is necessary and correct. The Bible warns us to “be angry” against injustice and wrong, but “not sin” in the process. We cannot force people to see truth, agree with us, and/or understand our misunderstood motives toward them. When the other person is clearly not open to a quiet reasoning, it is best to shut one’s mouth right then, and let that person have the “win.” (When I learn how to do this with more consistency, I’ll let you know.)
But as I have matured, I notice being gentle when the occasion calls for it comes a bit easier for me. My tough guy persona has softened with the passing of time. My spiritual basket is holding more of Holy Spirit’s gentleness than when I was young and strong and had so many answers to life’s difficult questions. I have come to the place where there are more questions about life than there are answers. This reality has a way of softening a tough ol’ cookie. And the dumber I get, it seems, the smarter I am. Funny, huh?
So, the gentleness that has eluded me much of my life is apparent more often. But, I still have my moments. I read somewhere a lady should “Put on gentleness like a favorite summer dress . . . let it be a light, easy and comfortable part of your life.” I may not be quite there yet, but I have come a long way! As one of our TV teachers points out, “I may not be what I ought to be, but I thank God I’m not what I used to be.”
The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to everyone, and able to teach others with patience. 2 Timothy 2:24
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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