Posted by: Bishop Gary Trautmann
Our theme for this letter is the 8th virtue of the Fruit of the Spirit, Gentleness, from Galatians 5: 22-23. Gentleness is a virtue that is much needed in Christian living. We live in a society that has become increasingly aggressive and insensitive towards the feelings of others. If I think of the business world, it is mostly directed toward productivity and profit. This leaves very little room for gentleness. But Christ has called us to be in the world but not of the world. Therefore to be Christ-like we must be different, so people who surround us in life may notice a difference and be drawn to Christ.
It seems Apostle Paul was a very tough man, enduring beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecked, but he was a gentle man. He wrote to Timothy “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all...”
2 Timothy 2: 24. It’s good for us to cultivate a gentle spirit in our life which will please both God and humanity.
A gentle person is mild-mannered and moderate, considerate and thoughtful, and definitely friendly. A person who is gentle does not resort to using force to get things done. Gentleness is not a sign of weakness but rather a powerful tool we can use to accomplish God’s plan of salvation.
To be gentle also does not mean that one must always give in and be accommodating to others, but at times we must stand firm and uncompromising. Whenever Godly principles are at stake, we cannot afford to be swayed by others. Jesus was a good example when he referred to Peter as Satan, and to get out of the way. Apostle Paul finishes the above verse to Timothy “…in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth…”
Our Lord gives rest, inner rest, to those who are weary and heavy-laden. Some of those may not be well regarded by their peers. Jesus is gentle because He knows and understands our needs, knows the pain of our hearts, our failures, and disappointments. Outwardly Zacchaeus was a tax collector despised by his people. Inwardly he wanted to change. Jesus gave him that opportunity and Zacchaeus promised an impressive charitable donation and restitution to any that he had cheated.
Exactly how valuable are the lives of people around us? To cultivate gentleness we need to train our hearts and minds to regard the lives of people around us as being very precious and valuable. Treat them as fragile and irreplaceable. I am reminded of the day I held my first grandchild the very day she was born. Holding her carefully and gently in my hands. Marveling at the life that God has put into this bundle of joy. How tenderly and gently we held her.
Every one of us has likely resisted being gentle to our fellow man at one time or another. However, it is not too late going forward to consider that God deemed them valuable enough to send His only begotten Son to die for them. They have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and we must, therefore, be careful how we handle any brother or sister in Christ. We must be very gentle with them because they are just as precious in God's sight as we are.
Previous articles in the Fruit of the Spirit series include Love and Joy
(District Elder Emery Jan 15/20), Peace and Longsuffering
(Bishop Voeun Mar 1/20), Kindness and Goodness
(Bishop Jansen Jun 1/20), and Legacy of Faithfulness
(Bishop Sturm Jul 15/20).