This is Part 2 of a series of word studies on each of the fruit of the Spirit! If you would like a review on what a word study is and my heart behind this project, feel free to go back and read the first blog post in this series.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Strongs dictionary gives the Greek definition of that word "gentleness", praotēs/πραότης, as: "mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness"
The practically interchangeableness of gentleness and meekness came to be as a surprise. Meekness has historically been misunderstood as being passive and quiet. But I heard a really interesting take on meekness recently that struck me so deeply.
The study was done by Jordan Peterson, a psychologist from Canada, who isn't a self-professed Christian, but nonetheless dove into the Biblical world with deep honor and curiosity. After being confused at the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus is teaching people that "the meek shall inherit the Earth", Peterson did a deep dive into this word and unearthed this incredible deifinition/interpretation of that verse:
“Those who have weapons and know how to use them, but still keep them sheathed, will inherit the earth.” - Jordan Peterson
Not that I think a non-Chrstian should necissarilty be re-writing the words of Jesus, but I found so much power in that interpretation. It's the idea that that those who are meek are like a horse who has been broken-in or trained for battle; that they know how to use their weapon, but are friends with prudence. They are gentle, humble, and have a calm temper. (Meekness study by Bill Hutchison)
Gentleness, like kindness, calls us to partner with wisdom and to know how to see beyond a current circumstance in order to speak into the real issue. It is selfless, slow to judge and quick to comfort.
Colossians 3:12 says, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness [gentleness], longsuffering"
Being chosen by God means that we are meant to interact with the world in a different way. We do not allow our flesh to judge a person or situation. We go slow and we listen carefully to the Holy Spirit and what He is saying about a situation. We do not let our fleshly strength lead our lives, but the strength, wisdom and timing of God.
The call to gentleness isn't always easy, and I would go as far as to say that it is, in it's own way, invitation for us to die to ourselves. Gentleness slows down and stops for the one. Gentleness allows space for people to bear their heart in a safe environment. Gentleness is like the words of a wise grandmother who sees you where your at and has no fear for your future.
The call to gentleness is a call to wisdom
God, increase our gentleness. I pray that you would give us wisdom and prudence in order to truly embrace our call to be gentle towards the ones around us, and even to ourselves. Teach us how to keep our swords sheathed, Lord.
"Reckless words pierces like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18