George Methodist Church
Session 29 Gentleness
19th August 2018
8am and 10am
With Peter Veysie
Key Idea : I am thoughtful, considerate and calm in my dealings with others.
Key Scripture: Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Phil 4: 5
It’s interesting that when we talk about gentleness then we immediately may think of weakness and we find it very difficult and especially as men to talk about this.
In our society today there is so much aggression and lack of sensitivity to each other. We are far from gentle. What happens behind closed doors in marriages is sadly often not gentle. The way we talk to each other is very often not defined by gentleness and so this morning I want to give you some key ideas as to how you can be gentler.
Let’s take a look at the word “gentleness.” It is πραΰτης (transliteration: prautēs; phonetic pronunciation: prah-oo’-tace), and means: “mildness, i.e. (by implication) humility; meekness.” In Hebrew we have the word עָנָו (transliteration: ʿânâv; phonetic pronunciation: aw-nawv’), which means “in mind (gentle) or circumstances (needy, especially saintly); humble, lowly, meek.”
The Greek words for “gentleness” and “meekness” are somewhat interwoven in English translations. Prautes, the Greek word translated “gentleness” in Galatians 5:23 (NIV), means “to submit one’s strength in a posture of meekness.”
Have you ever met someone like this? They are gentle, mild, calm, kind, quiet, and tender people. They do not draw a lot of attention to themselves. They are not boisterous, rowdy, unruly, noisy, or even overly excited about anything. I’m thinking of someone at this very moment that I consider to be just this way. There is an old saying, “It is better to be silent and be thought of as a fool, rather than to open your mouth and remove all doubt” (based on Proverbs 17:28). They seem to be the thinkers of the world, particularly adept at deep thought. It is a great virtue to have. Some of us have to be the centre of attention, always wanting to be in the spotlight. Some, not all, actors and entertainers may fit this category. Notice I said “some.” The others do it because they truly believe they have a God-given talent that they wish to share with the world.
We all have different personalities, lifestyles, and characters. That’s what makes some of us inventers, singers, actors, etc. There is definitely nothing wrong with being a gentle man/woman. In fact, 1 Timothy 6:11 tells us to pursue this character trait. The word “pursue” is διώκω (transliteration: diōkō; phonetic pronunciation: dee-o’-ko), and means “to pursue (literal or figurative); by implication to persecute; ensue, follow (after), given to, (suffer) persecute (-ion), press forward.” So let’s pursue gentleness and have a good heart towards others!
Reference: Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit of God characterised and cherished by Jesus. If we want to be more like Jesus then we need to exercise more gentleness.
Puritan leader Jonathan Edwards called gentleness “the Christian spirit.” Edwards said, “All who are truly godly and are real disciples of Christ have a gentle spirit in them.”
The Bible goes out of its way to demonstrate Jesus’ gentleness. In fact, the Old Testament depicts the Messiah as unusually gentle, telling us that Jesus would not break a “bruised reed” or snuff out a “smoldering wick” (Isaiah 42:3). In the Gospels, Jesus affirmed His gentleness: “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). And the apostles often reminded the early church of Jesus’ gentleness: “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you” (2 Corinthians 10:1).
Unfortunately, too many people equate gentle with weak. Unless you would call the heroic apostle Paul, the fiery Puritan Jonathan Edwards and the almighty Christ “weak” individuals, it is clearly a misunderstanding to assume weakness has anything to do with gentleness.
Matthew 11:28 – 29 Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am GENTLE and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Jesus calls us to come to him. We come because we know there is gentleness in this call and we come because we know that we can trust him. The yolk of a rabbi referred to the type of teacher that he was and if you took on the yolk of the rabbi you were more like him. If you wanted to experience rest for your souls then Jesus calls us to come to experience and find his gentleness and his gift of restoring our burdened and weary souls. The morning call each day.
Other examples of Jesus’s gentleness were in the reinstating of Peter on the beach at galilee next the breakfast fish braai.
The woman at the well John 4
The parable of the Samaritan and so many more.
When Jesus enters triumphantly on a foal of a donkey into Jerusalem he fulfils the prophetic scripture from Zechariah 9:9 “ See your king comes to you, GENTLE, and riding on a colt the foal of a donkey”
Paul the terroriser and the angry man who took on what he thought was the mantle from God to eradicate the followers of Jesus is confronted by a gentle who takes him out of his rage and puts in him the fruit of the spirit of gentleness.
1 Corinthians 4:21 Talking to the Corinthians who had honestly made a bit of a hash of what it meant to be the church, he says “ What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
It’s the question we need to be asking ourselves too as to how we handle different issues in our lives. This does not mean to say that Paul was a pushover, because he did bring rebuke and discipline. He says to the Galatians for example – You foolish Galatians who cut in on you? You were running such a great race!!!
Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another…”
When Paul speaks to Timothy about leadership he says that the characteristic of a leader must be 1 Timothy 3: 3 and 4 “Not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. They must manage their own families well…”
1 Thess 2: 7 “We were gentle like a mother caring for her children.”
- Titus Peter and the writer of Hebrews (Priscilla and her name left out to protect the letter and enable it to be part of the Canon) share also about the importance of Gentleness.
Titus 3:2 “to slander no one to be peaceable and considerate and always to be gentle toward everyone.”
1 Peter 3:4 “Rather it should be that your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
1 Peter 3:15 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you for the reason for the hope you have. But do this with GENTLENESS AND RESPECT.”
Hebrews 5:2 Deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray.
- What about us?
I think that sometimes we need to do a bit of an MRI check on ourselves as to how we are doing in the light of gentleness.
- Pursue gentle gentleness 1 Tim 6:11 righteousness, godliness, faith, love ,endurance and gentleness. Go after it as much as you possibly can. Where you are not being gentle catch yourself and repent and turn to the Holy Spirit and cry out to Him for more gentleness.
- Gentleness preserves our hearts and can quite literally save our live. Anger and hardness can kill you and so if we want to preserve our lives for good then we need to be more gentle. Ephesians 4;2
- Practice gentleness 1 Peter 3:15
- Realise that power is not in how harsh you are but rather in how gentle you will become. Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. And verse 4 – Gent
- Priorities gentleness. Put it on the top of your agenda this week and see what a difference it will make in your home, business dealings with others and in your life.
Do an MRI on yourself and monitor your gentleness.