Smorgasbord Tuesday: Fruit of the Spirit Gentleness

We only have a couple weeks left looking at the fruits of the Spirit. I am kind of sad because I've really enjoyed the whole process. I've learned a lot about the Holy Spirit during this process; I hope that you have learned some new things too!

This week's fruit of the Spirit is gentleness. I think people tend to attribute this trait as a feminine quality, but the more I've been reflecting on it I think men can and should be really good at this fruit, too. I've come up with a definition of gentleness from “Jaime's dictionary:”
the recognition that you have
the power to break, harm or destroy
the object you are interacting
with because it is precious, fragile
and inferior in power compared to you.
Because of this you choose to restrain your
power and instead use your power to
protect it for its benefit.

I came to this definition by thinking about when we tend to use the word gentle. The scenario that came to my mind was when we talk to toddlers who want to see a baby. The phrase you always hear is, “Be gentle.” Why? Because we recognize the toddler has the power to hurt the baby and that they need to consciously restrain their power in order for the baby to be protected from harm.

Like I said earlier I think as a society we tend to attribute gentleness as a feminine trait but I believe it can be a very masculine trait if men would recognize the meaning of gentleness.

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children;
instead, bring them up in the training
and instruction of the Lord.

The Lord is very clear that fathers play an important role in training their children to know and understand the Lord. Men by design are powerful creatures in both statures and in word. One of the ways they can achieve the goal of bringing up their children is by treating their children with the gentleness and this can only be learned by being with the Lord.

Philippians 4:5
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

I think this verse clearly points out that one of the evidences of the nearness to the Lord will be gentleness. If gentleness is lacking in your personal life I would suggest doing a few things. One is to get near the Lord. This can happen through prayer, worship, reading your Bible and fellowshipping with others.

The second thing I would suggest is to take time to reflect on what gentleness means. This understanding of gentleness has already started helping me respond to my kids in a more gentle way. I am recognizing that I have power with my words. My words can either destroy or protect their spirits. By consciously recognizing this fact it has helped me to restrain myself when I interact with them. I don't have to prove my “power” to them by being forceful with them. Often times, I think disciplinary struggles flare when there is a power struggle going on. In the end, the parents lose their tempers and gentleness is the farthest thing from their minds (of course I know this only from observation not experience :). The parent is trying to prove to the child that they are in control. However, when you eliminate the power struggle because you are the one in the place of power, you will find that it will be much easier to discipline and to do it with gentleness. You are the one in power in your relationship with your children you do not need to establish this over and over again. If you've “lost” that power with your children, then first reestablish this as a fact in your own mind. You are in control and you have the power to protect or crush your children's spirits. Since you have that power choose to restrain it and use it in a manner that protects and nurtures your child instead of in a way that crushes and destroys their spirits. (For more on parenting check out my post on Training Children.)

Finally, for the greatest understanding of gentleness meditate on the character of God. As we have seen with all the fruits; these character traits are from God ALONE and He blesses us with opportunity to have them in abundance in our lives. He is the All-powerful One. He is the Creator of the Universe! He is powerful we are not! He could choose to force Himself upon us and have us follow Him out of fear and trembling alone. Instead, He restrains His power and came to us in the form of a man, Jesus.

Zechariah 9:9
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Matthew 11:29
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.

Or look at I Kings 10:11b-12

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart
and shattered the rocks before the LORD,
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake came a fire,
but the LORD was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Look at God and how He desires to come to you. As we talked about last week He desires to bring us to repentance through kindness. He also has approached us with a gentle spirit. Gentleness in no way lessens who He is rather it enhances His amazing power.

I hope you enjoy this week basking in the gentleness of the Lord, and letting those around you benefit from His gentleness coming out of you!


  1. When I think about gentleness, I think of my husband Keith. He handles our children with great gentleness. Definitely a great quality to see in a fathers life.

  2. Thank you for your article. I am teaching sunday school and I appreciate your ability to communicate the topic in a clear thought process. I too am learning and becoming more aware of the understanding of the fruit. The gentleness of the Father is mind blowing when you begin to grasp the reality of it, in action daily. I have various age groups, and my challenge is writing a lesson plan that the youngest of students will be able to comprehend.  I do feel your article is inspiring me to be able to accomplish this, again thanks.

  3. Thank you Marisa for taking time to comment. I'm glad the post was helpful to you. I have a "Topics" section on my blog so I'll hope you'll stop by again for future lessons. I remember my Sunday School teachers, they provide an important foundation to my faith. Thank you for your love, service and dedication to your students. In Christ, Jaime


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