Part 9 – “Gentleness”
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness . . . “
Gentleness is often translated as “meekness”. In fact, the King James Version of the Bible uses the word meek instead of gentleness. Although to be meek sounds weak, it actually comes from a position of strength. Meekness more precisely describes those who are strong, but who have been placed in a position of weakness where they persevere without giving up. Isn’t that exactly where some of us are as Hurting Moms?
We have always been strong, but as the time goes on and our child is not coming back or changing their life, we begin to feel helpless and hopeless because it becomes apparent that there is nothing we can do to fix or control them. We become frustrated, angry, and fearful, and if we let those emotions take over, we move away from anything that even begins to look like gentleness. But, if we submit to God with humility and grace, and without concern for our own rights, we will begin to overcome those negative emotions so that we will display the attribute of gentleness described in the Fruit of the Spirit.
Submitting to God and seeking to be meek or gentle does not mean we are weak. The use of the Greek word means ‘tame’ when applied to wild animals. In other words, such animals have not lost their strength but have learned to control the destructive instincts that prevent them from living in harmony with others.
Jesus describes himself as gentle 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.” How inviting and comforting this verse is when we are in a storm with our child. Rather than exhausting ourselves by fighting the endless and fruitless battle of trying to maintain some kind of authority over our child, we can simply stop fighting and rest in the gentleness of Jesus.
Do you let your pain over your child interfere with your other relationships? Are you unable to display the Christlike attribute of gentleness because you are so consumed with your child’s behavior? Do people who you live with or work with sense a gentle spirit when they are around you or has your situation allowed you to be hard and legalistic? Remember, a spirit of gentleness is humble and gives grace freely and consistently. In Philippians 2:5-7 it says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage: rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
On our own it is impossible to be gentle, especially when we are hurting over our children. But, through Jesus we can have the kind of gentleness that is talked about in the scriptures. Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near”. He is near and He will work in and through us so that gentleness becomes part of who we are. All we must do is open ourselves up to His healing power, as we seek to become more and more like Him in all we do.
by Cathy Taylor