Monday, September 25, 2006

Gentleness

Finally back to DC after a two day journey which had a stop in NC.

The next word in the fruits of the spirit is gentleness (meekness in some translations).

Gal 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (NIV)

Here are a few definitions from a topical study:

Meekness - (Grk. Prautees) Mildness, indulgence toward the weak and erring, patient suffering of injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge, an even balance of all tempers and passions, the entire opposite to anger. (Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Meekness - submissiveness of spirit toward God and man (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

A very familiar cross-reference for this one is Matt 5:5:

Matt 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (NIV)


[Blessed are the meek] Happy, easy, those who are of a quiet, gentle spirit, in opposition to the proud and supercilious Scribes and Pharisees, and their disciples. We have a compound word in English, which once fully expressed the meaning of the original, namely gentleman; but it has now almost wholly lost its original signification. Our word meek comes from the old Anglo-saxon meca, or meccea, a companion or equal, because he who is of a meek or gentle spirit, is ever ready to associate with the meanest of those who fear God, feeling himself superior to none; and well knowing that he has nothing of spiritual or temporal good but what he has received from the mere bounty of God, having never deserved any favour from his hand. (Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The definition I like most is "entire opposite of anger." We have a lot to get angry at in this world, but God calls us to be gentle and meek. However, this is not a call to be weak. Many people misinterpret these two passages and say that Christians shouldn't take bold stands but instead should be meek. I completely disagree with that interpretation.

Christ was anything but weak. He was gentle and meek in that he did not allow those who opposed him to get him angry. Instead their hatred drew him to compassion for them:

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (NIV)

Father, I pray for a spirit of gentleness among Your children. Let that gentleness be an example to those who don't know You. Let it draw them towards You by the sheer opposite nature of the world. The world is quick to anger. Let us not be of the world. Instead let us respond with gentleness to harshness and meekness to anger. Let our gentle attitudes attract others to You.

Father, let us not confuse meekness and gentleness with weakness. Help us to know when we are to be bold and stand strong in the face of opposition to Your will. Never for personal revenge or feelings, but to defend Your will like Christ did in the courtyard of the temple by running out those who were making a mockery of it. Let us never seek revenge but trust in You that all is according to Your purpose and will. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

1 comment:

ltl4christ said...

Gentleness is a perfect description of our Father. No matter what, because of His great love, He is always be gentle to us. He also want this fruit to be said to us! May the Gentleness fruit teaches us how to yield and be gentle to one another in love and bring to mind ways in which we can be a blessing to each other, and lay down our lives in love just as Jesus did.

May God continue to use you to do His will, continue to bless you that you may be a blessing to others. And keep you strong that you may help the weak, also keep you uplifted that you may have words of encouragement for others.