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A Theology of Gentleness
Gentleness is part of the “Fruit of the Spirit.” I think that its supply is like the Napa 2017 harvest, burning up. Former President George W.H. Bush in his 1988 acceptance speech called for a “Kinder, gentler nation.” Along with the 1,000-points of light hopes, I have trouble seeing either one through the wildfire smoke, savage hatred being spewed out in Congress or ravaging gunfire. The hatred and lack of civil conversation has reached an all-time high in these United States. I hear putrid speech from former presidents and presidential candidates as well as current office holders. I hear an entire political party saying that they want to obstruct and destroy the current president. That means that they want to destroy the United States, as we know it. What is this about? It is the fact that mankind is not good, only God is good. It is only by redemption through the Son of God that anyone can begin a journey of righteousness. Jesus said to the disciples, “Apart from me you are nothing (you can do nothing).” (John 15:5). That is the truth, like it or not.
I suspect that there are many people considering what I have already written as hate speak. But before you write me off, read the Bible. “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them” (Proverbs 14:3). There are 72 “fool” verses in the wisdom book of Proverbs alone. I just chose one about a fool and their pride. Don’t be a hothead and deceitful about it as proverbs suggests of the foolish who despises the wisdom of God. This is not political wisdom coming from the mouth of the Almighty; it is common sense from the One in control. Those that tear down are fools; those that build up are gentle. Encouraging and comforting is not weak. It is meekness or power under control. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). I am just hearing continual harshness that will bring the wrath of God. Proverbs 25:15 tells us that patience and a gentle tongue can break a bone. Yes, when we are gentle or weak, God is strong.
The Apostle Paul tells the Philippians to let their gentleness be known to all for the Lord is near. He goes on in Colossians 3:12 to tell us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” These are descriptions of Jesus, the Creator of the universe through whom all things hold together. There is nothing weak here, this gentleness created the world and He will destroy it again, making it new again thereafter. Then He will come to rule and reign with those who love Him, the others will be no longer as they will have been thrown by their own choice into the Lake of Fire. All are welcome to come as, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Does that sound gentle and patient? The One who is gentle and riding on a donkey is also omnipotent and omniscient so be prepared for the end draws near. Therefore, I want to imitate Jesus and have His mind as Scripture admonishes us. This is being gentle and all the other fruit of the Spirit against which there is no law.
My quest in 2016 to be gentler continues, for I have not yet been made into having this Christ-like behavior as He would have it. So I will keep working with God’s help as Paul admonished his mentee Timothy, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).