Friday, October 1, 2010

Fruit of the Spirit: The Strength to Be Gentle

Of all the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5, gentleness is probably the most poorly regarded, especially by men. In large part, that's because gentleness (particularly when the King James Version translates it "meekness") is seen as a weak, delicate, matronly. But when we study what biblical gentleness is, we see anything but weakness. Perhaps the best image I have seen to picture this quality was a photograph in Sports Illustrated 25 years ago. The heavyweight boxing champion of the world was pictured holding his newborn son. Yet the camera was zoomed in so tightly, all that was visible was this tiny, naked figure nestled against a muscular chest, cradled by one massive bicep. It was a perfect picture of Herculean strength under control. Here was a man treating with great tenderness his baby boy, yet was anyone on Earth about to call him weak?

That is what gentleness is: Strength under control. It is knowing that we have the power to damage, even to destroy, others, yet choosing to treat God has treated us. Yet won't we be seen as weak if we choose to be gentle? Won't we get pushed around? Won't we forfeit the opportunity to claim justice for our wrongs? No one ever said following Christ was easy. We'll look at these issues in this Sunday's message, based on Matthew 5:5.

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