Practicing Gentleness in Faith - The Crosswalk Devotional - March 30
The Crosswalk Devotional
By Lynette Kittle, Crosswalk.com
Practicing Gentleness in Faith
By Lynette Kittle
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” - 1 Peter 3:15
Sadly, gentleness is often overlooked and undervalued in today’s culture. We’re pushed to be tough, assertive, and independent. Society sees these qualities as strong and powerful, whereas gentleness is viewed by many as weak and powerless. Yet looking at Scripture, we find the opposite to be true. Gentleness is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit, and a potent force in dealing with the enemy (Galatians 5:22). Most individuals probably don’t consider gentleness to be a potent force, but Proverbs 15:1 explains, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
When confronted with anger, a shouting match, argument, or debate may not be the most helpful way to address and resolve it. Rather, Scripture tells us how a gentle approach is more effective than anger in diffusing an emotion as volatile as wrath.
How Does Gentleness Work?
The concept of gentleness being powerful and working more effectively than matching anger with anger, may seem foreign to many. It’s not what we see in the news, on award shows, or even at church congregational meetings.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17)
It can seem like such a mismatch to us when it comes to wrath versus gentleness. Still, from Proverbs 25:15, we discover, “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” Likewise, Proverbs 15:4 describes gentleness in speech, a gentle tongue, is like a tree of life offering to heal whoever hears our words. We can purposefully practice gentle comments and responses to others knowing our words have the ability to touch a person’s heart with the gentleness of Jesus.
What is considered weak by today’s standards is more powerful than the strongest emotions. As 1 Corinthians 1:27 explains. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
What Does Gentleness Overcome?
Have you ever seen the power of gentleness calm even the harshest of hearts? Wherever it is expressed, it has the power to bring peace to the situation. Instead of “reacting” to anger with outrage, the present culture’s go-to response, God urges us to stay calm. Ecclesiastes 10:4 says, “If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest.”
More importantly, Jesus uses the word gentle to describe Himself in Matthew 11:29: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” He is our example. Where anger stirs up strife and tension, gentleness brings relief and rest. Jesus offers his gentleness to each one of us: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). As Christians, Philippians 4:5 urges us to let our gentleness be evident to all.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
How are you doing in the gentleness department, especially when it comes to your faith? Consider taking a look at how you’ve been responding to others. Find ways to be gentler to those you interact with regularly, along with new people in your life. Ask God to help you have a gentle heart like Jesus in every situation, especially when confronted with another’s anger or hurt.
8 Ways God's Gentleness Has a Huge Impact on Our Lives
Photo Credit: ©Getty/shuang paul wang
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
Check out fantastic resources on Faith, Family, and Fun at Crosswalk.com!
Want to grow your prayer life? The So Much More Podcast shows you how to create space to be with God. This podcast, hosted by Jodie Niznik, introduces you to two types of scripture experiences: Lectio Divina and Imaginative Prayer. Join our growing prayer community today!