- By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Posted 08/16/2020
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Fruit of the Spirit
Reclaiming Your Gentleness
Rev Dr Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Gentleness is the eighth character of the fruit of the Spirit. Gentleness is a quality that involves humility, politeness, compassion and meekness. The opposite of gentleness is a desire to revenge, selfish attitude and expression of anger.
- Gentleness is the fruit of the Spirit and it brings Jesus’ character in us. Matthew 11:29: Jesus said: 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.
- Paul emphasizes again and again in his letters with this meekness/gentleness of Christ. In 2 Corinthians.10:1, he said: I myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ- I who am meek when face toffee with you, but bold toward you when absent.’
- Hebrew word: Anvah: It means humility, gentleness, or condescension.”
- Greek words: Epieikeia (Fairness, Gentleness); Prautes (Gentleness in speech)
- From biblical theology, gentleness/meekness involves humility, gratitude, polite and restrained behaviour toward others.
Paul wrote this letter to Galatians to return the gospel of Christ rather than going back and becoming slavery to law of the religions and customs and to live a Christian life with the freedom that comes from the redemption of God and also with compassion that comes from the character of God. In this last chapter of Galatians, he focused on the personal responsibilities of the believers and their ongoing support for others as part of their ministries.
- We need gentleness in order to restore others who have been overtaken by sin. Galatians.6:1
- Brethren, if a man is [a]overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
- Paul wanted the believers in Galatia to restore those who have gone backward in their faith life by sinning against God and completely controlled by sins. They should not reject or ignore them. Their responsibility to restore to their former condition or put in order by the spirit of gentleness. Paul used a Greek term restore as a medical term for setting a fractured or dislocated bone.
- Sometimes, we, as the church, often neglect this job. We act either pretend the sin never happened ( Compromise) or we ten to react too harshly one who sinned (Judgemental). The balance is that we cannot ignore sin and at the same time we cannot restrain ourselves to restore the person. We have to do it with gentleness.
- James. 5:19-20 : 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
- 2 Corinthians. 13: 9, 11: We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored.11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
- Restoring a fallen brother by choosing the wrong choice: Abraham and Lot: Genesis.14:1-16.
- Author and teacher, Dr. Howard Hendricks tells the story of a young man who strayed from the Lord but was finally brought back by the help of a friend who really loved him. When there were full repentance and restoration, Dr. Hendricks asked this Christian how it felt away from the Lord. The young man said it seemed like he was out at sea, in deep water, deep trouble, and all his friends were on the shore hurling biblical accusations at him about justice, penalty, and wrong. “But, there was one Christian brother who actually swam out to get me and would not let me go. I fought him, but he pushed aside my fighting, grasped me, put a life jacket around me, and took me to shore. By the grace of God, he was the reason I was restored. He would not let me go.” (Source Unknown).
- We need gentleness in order to bear our burdens as well as to bear one another’s burden. Galatians.6:2-5
- 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.
- Paul now shifted from restoring a person from the heavy burden of sin to restoring a person sagging under a heavy load. He addressed that the believers should be others-focused from self-focused and help brothers and sisters with a burden out of compassion and gentleness. Bearing one another’s burden is fulfilling the law of Christ, love one another as Christ loves us (John13:34-35). Here law means commandment. Pride or arrogance does not allow us to fulfil this. As we carry our cross and burden, we also are willing to bear other’s burdens as they do.
- Sometimes, we think that we should focus on our own burdens and ignore others’ burdens. It becomes more self-focused. Sometimes we think that it would be embarrassing to tell others our burdens or ask about them. It is not helpful. Sometimes we think that we ignore our own burdens and focus on other burdens. It is not good stewardship. We need to take our own burdens and also help others to carry their own burdens easily with our help. By helping others, we should show the care of Christ.
- Philippians.2:3b-4:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.
- 2 Corinthians 5:10:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
- Acts.11:27-30: Agabus Prophecy and Church in Antioch’s action.
- James Gilkey tells of watching workman on the street of New York city carrying a long awkward plank. The wind kept blowing it, and as it would swing back and forth, he would lose his stride and weave back and forth. Another man came up behind and saw his problem, and without a word, he eased his shoulder under the back end of the plank. The workman was ignorant of what was happening. He steadied his step, and quickened his pace, and quickly arrived at his destination. His undetected helper slipped from under the load and continued on his way. The workman never even knew he had been helped with his burden.
- We need gentleness in order to do good to those who are in the faith family and to all beyond our boundaries. Galatians.6:6-10
- 6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
- Paul instructed the Galatians to support and care for one another especially the teachers who teach the word of God in the congregation, to all and especially those who are in the congregation. As teachers were dependent on God’s provision for their lives and ministries, the Galatians had the responsibility to support them. It also should be extended to all church members and to all in the world when we have opportunities. It is like sowing and reaping goodness from the Lord.
- Giving is part of gentleness. By giving, we support and care for those who do ministry in the church. By giving, we support those who are in need in the church. By giving, we show God’s generosity and care to those who are outside of the church. Giving comes from a gentle and caring heart. God will reward us.
- 1 Corinthians 9:14:14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. 1 Timothy 5:17: 17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
- 1 Thessalonians. 5:15: 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
- 2 Kings.6:8-23: Prophet Elisha helped the Arameans who tried to kill him so that they might live and be safe and did good beyond all boundaries.
- In a small, dusty town in western Oklahoma, one November, there lived a young single mother struggling to make ends meet, working at a local convenience store, taking care of her small child and assisting an elderly relative who lived in the same town. It was nearing Thanksgiving and she felt a need to help others growing strong in her heart. She called local charities and finally, she got an opportunity to style residents' hair in the nearby nursing home on the day of Thanksgiving. In the hallway outside the room, she styled their hair, residents lined up. Some were in the wheelchairs, some were in bed, some were not even awake. With just a few hours of her time, she brightened many lives by giving of her time and talents. Asked later why she was willing to go through so much to serve, she replied: I just needed to give. I made them happy that day. I made a difference.
Gentleness is one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. As our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is gentle, we are called to have this great character in our lives. We need to the Holy Spirit to cultivate it. Apostle Paul, from Galatians. 6:1-10, teaches that we need this gentleness in our lives for three reasons.
1. We need gentleness in order to restore others who have been overtaken by sin. Galatians.6:1
2. We need gentleness in order to bear our burdens as well as to bear one another’s burden. Galatians.6:2-5
3. We need gentleness in order to do good to those who are in the faith family and to all beyond our boundaries. Galatians.6:6-10
Questions for Discussion
- What do you think about gentleness? Is respect connected with it? How do gentleness and respect work together?
- Gentleness is the character of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit. How does the gentleness play a significant role in your speech, behaviour and actions?
- When you are gentle, it would help you to restore someone’s life. When was the last time you restored someone’s faith through your gentleness?
- Gentleness is not weakness. However, people think that it is a weakness. How do you prove that it is not a weakness but the fruit of the Spirit to them?
- Bearing one another’s burden is an expression of gentleness. What inspires you to bear someone’s burden and what discourages you to avoid it? How do you fulfil this law of Christ in your lives?
- Gentleness in words and actions impacts on people. How does gentleness affect others' lives by sharing and helping others? How do you care for others by sharing? Giving is an act of gentiles. What inspires you to give your time, talents and treasures to do good to others?