In my years of counseling at Bethel, I have seen much unforgiveness, resentment, rage, blame, slander and other self-centered attitudes. Self-centeredness naturally exhibits a lack of gentleness towards others. A person must first identify and repent of his own sin before he can exhibit a spirit of gentleness on those loved ones he has wounded with words, looks or physical abuses. This gentleness is a sweet smelling aroma of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. It is a balm of healing on those who have been wounded deeply. Looking at Webster’s dictionary, I see gentleness defined as “free from harshness, sternness, or violence”. My heart grieves over the wives who have experienced harshness, sternness or violence from their husbands instead of gentleness. Webster then goes on to define gentleness as “soft, delicate”. My question to men who may be reading this is: How long has it been since you have been “soft and delicate” to your wives and children? And, not to exempt wives from their responsibility, though it may be hard, you must also die to that fiery dart of pain that’s entered your soul and ask God to give you the “balm of grace” from above to not return evil for evil. Romans 12:14-21.
There is a spiritual law found in James 4:12-17 that says when “bitter envy and strife exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” and it brings an atmosphere that is “earthly, sensual and demonic”. This is why drug and alcohol abuse give place to so much heartache and heartbreak. It is the catalyst to spiritual darkness over one’s home.
But, on the other hand, there is wisdom from above that is “pure, then peaceable, GENTLE, WILLING TO YIELD, FULL OF MERCY, and good fruit…” And the scripture goes further to explain that those who act out of the wisdom from above have exhibited the fruit of righteousness and have sown peace in their relationships.
It is my experience that all of us are looking for gentleness. We want to be treated with dignity. We long for someone to come alongside of us and give encouragement, kindness and understanding. Even in our frustration, ugliness and anger we are still longing for someone to be gentle toward us.
In a recent counseling session with a Bethel student, I sensed a tension rising up between the student and myself. I was raising my voice and so was he. I knew that the dialogue had passed the point of resolution. By God’s leading, I resigned to the fact that we were not going anywhere and I gently said something to him. Out of his mouth came the Scripture; “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. At that point, we both entered into the atmosphere of wisdom that comes from above and we had a peaceable counseling session.
Are you harsh, bitter or jealous with someone you know? Take your sinful attitude to God, confess it and ask God to forgive you. Ask the Lord to give you the spirit of gentleness so that you might be a blessing to the one who needs you to be gentle towards them. Make a conscious effort to be gentle to someone you’ve hurt, ask their forgiveness and start ministering to them in a spirit of gentleness. They are crying out for it!
May the Lord bless you. Be gentle!