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Gentleness is the Greek word, "prautes". It describes the quality of not being carried away by a sense of self importance. A gentle person is friendly, meek, considerate, and exercises restrained patience in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Reference: Philippians 4:5 New International Version (NIV) 'Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.'

Today, Paul is encouraging us to be gentle in all our dealings with men. In another way, for Christians, all of our responses and reactions must be positive, not negative. This may not always be the case because on a few occasions Christ Jesus Himself, reacted harshly to people and situations where things were not right and appropriate. This is why we have the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus, for every situation we encounter. At the end of the above verse, Paul said, 'the Lord is near.' How does this connect to being gentle? First, 'the Lord is near' is not about the future advent of Christ, but about His present nearness. The Lord is ever present with us.

I know that some translations interpreted it as 'the Lord is coming soon.' However, understanding that Christ can come at any moment is a different perspective in regard to gentleness. It is simply a reminder and source of encouragement for those who are in Christ, not the reason to be gentle. This particular 'nearness' is making reference to Psalm 119:151 (NASB) which says, "You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are true." In other words, 'Let your gentleness be evident to all' is a true commandment, but we must do so with the conscious awareness of the Lord's presence with us, in us and around us.

When a person or group of persons raises their voice against you, you have these two choices: Its either you raise your voice in response or you remain calm and reasonable. If they keep raising their voice higher, and you raise yours, the situation will escalate. And if unchecked, will result in reckless anger. Sometimes, with a sound judgement, you can leave the environment, which is fair and sensible, instead of being in antagonism with anyone or people who enjoy argument and feud.

When other people raise their voice, we must learn to lower our voice - in our association and relationship with others, in our parenting, in our marriage, in our gatherings and in every other situation. That's called gentleness. It is the ability to be calm and stay under control with careful consideration. It is kindliness. Interestingly, being tender or mild-mannered under normal circumstance does not always reveal gentleness. This means that I'm not talking about softness of action or effect.

You can only be known and admired for gentleness and tolerance, in times and moments of pressure, conflict and turmoil. With gentle response, gentle people can manage conflict well because the Bible says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1 NIV). For every Christian, gentleness is a fruit they must bear, which is conditioned by the Holy Spirit. Recognizing and developing this fruit empower us to live gently, to add generous, kind, and gracious words to our vocabulary and to sustain them. Gentle answers and responses deescalate anger and lessen the severity of violent feelings, actions and responses.

Gentleness is genuine, as well as 'the fruit of the Spirit', when it demonstrates restrained and compassionate behaviour towards others. It is an attitude we develop as a result of walking in sync with the Spirit of God. And it's real when it has no intention or desire for revenge. I said this because a lot of people can be gentle when an incident or an issue takes place, but plan for revenge later on. In the first place, that was not a gentle spirit in operation. However, whenever someone raises their voice in anger, instead of reacting the same way, practise gentleness.

Scripture Reading - Proverbs 16:24; Colossians 3:12; Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 4:5-6.

Guided Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word and the ability to always demonstrate obedient submissiveness to your will, by the help of your Spirit. I'm grateful for the strength and desire to display a gentle attitude, with unwavering faith, considerable answers, and enduring patience, in the face of opposition and conflict. As I place myself daily under the influence of the Holy Spirit, out of conviction, true meekness springs up as a positive force in my life and I'm conditioned to live and act accordingly, in Jesus' Name, Amen!


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