The Greek word used for gentleness means ‘strength under control’. It pictures a wild stallion that has been tamed. It doesn’t mean to be weak and wimpy. The only two people in the Bible who were called gentle—Moses and Jesus—were both strong. Gentleness is restraining your reactions. It’s choosing your response to people rather than merely reacting to them. For the next few days, let’s look at what it means to be gentle.
When someone serves you, be thoughtful and not demanding. Paul writes, ‘Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.’ (Philippians 2:4 TLB) How do you treat restaurant servers, clerks, administrative assistants, employees, bank tellers, police officers, and others who serve you? Are you rude and difficult? Are you aloof and impersonal, as if they were just ‘part of the machinery’? Do you realise they may have had a difficult day too, or do you think only of yourself?
The first way you develop gentleness is to try to understand those who serve you. And the first place you should be gentle is at home. The Bible tells wives to adorn themselves with ‘a gentle… spirit.’ (1 Peter 3:4 TLB) Peter is simply saying that gentleness can be more attractive than any clothes or jewellery you choose to wear. To husbands, he says, ‘You husbands should try to understand the wives you live with.’ (1 Peter 3:7 PHPS) If you are normally insensitive and overbearing, you will have to work extra hard on this. The Scriptures say you must be understanding, not demanding, towards the people who serve you and the people with whom you live.