Ralph W. Sockman once said “nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.” Think about that. I think that may be why gentleness is included in the fruits of the Spirit that Paul lists in Galatians 5. If you look around the world today, we usually see the opposite emphasized. Strength, power, might – these are considered invaluable tools. And, these tools are often used to prove who can force who into submission.
But, that’s not God’s way. He doesn’t come down here and say “Love me or die!” He doesn’t hold us at gunpoint in order to force us to do His will. In spite of His incredible strength, He chooses to be gentle with His creation. He shows us mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.
Which is exactly what He expects from us, as His people. We don’t force others to submit to our own desires. We don’t berate those who make mistakes. Even in times when we may have every right, or power, to exercise our will on others – we must choose gentleness. Because in gentleness lies true power. In gentleness lies the ability to wield influence. By exhibiting gentleness, we follow in the footsteps of an all-powerful God. And, after all, isn’t that what we’re trying to do?
“But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)