Fruit #8: Gentleness

by Carolyn Hope

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1)

Gentleness may be one of the most misunderstood qualities found in Galatians 5. People often associate a gentle heart with a push-over or a fearful weakling. That’s not what gentleness looks like. Gentleness is actually strong, firm, and influential.

As seen above from Proverbs 15, a word spoken in gentleness “deflects anger.” To deflect means to turn away or aside. Sometimes the impression we’re given of gentleness is that it just takes a beating without fighting back. A more accurate picture would be putting up an impenetrable block. Gentleness protects us from the anger people send at us, and it also sends it another direction.

Gentleness is a paradox of sorts. In choosing not to fight for yourself, you’ll find that you no longer need to fight for yourself. Arguments take two people. If you will humble yourself and not speak (even when you really want to), the fiery discussion or conflict will dissipate. You cannot be gentle without first being strong, for it takes great courage and strength to be still when everything within you wants to protest.

Let the Lord show you His perspective on gentleness, and let Him develop it within your heart. When you choose to be gentle, it will be a great testimony to those around you. Jesus is gentle (see Matthew 11:28-30). He will show you how to be gentle too.

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