Gentleness is not something that I’ve ever been known for. I have to say that as I get older, I have mellowed considerably, but I’m still not sure I would be described as gentle. When I was younger, and I felt wronged, I would always fight back; I didn’t know how to just let it go. My husband calls this my heightened sense of justice. The fact that gentleness didn’t come naturally to me, however, was no reason not to work towards the goal of being more gentle, for the Bible instructs us to. We are told to be gentle (Ephesians 4:1-3, Titus 3:1-2, James 3:13, I Timothy 6:11, Proverbs 15:1, II Timothy 2:24-26, Philippians 4:5) just as Christ is gentle. (Matthew 11:29)
In the early verses of Matthew 10, Jesus sent His disciples out to the people of Israel to preach that the kingdom of heaven was near. He gave His disciples the authority to heal the sick and to cast out unclean spirits. He instructed them about what to take with them and what to do when they entered or left a town, and He warned them that it would be dangerous for them. In the Bible in Basic English translation, Matthew 10:16 is worded this way: “See, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and as gentle as doves.” Other versions use the word harmless or innocent in place of gentle, but the point is still the same. To be gentle means to be pure and innocent. Even though they were going to face persecution from the world around them, the disciples were not to retaliate. They should not be naïve about the dangers, but they should not contribute to them either. The most they could do would be to shake the dust from their feet as they left the town. (Matthew 10:14) Let it go!
With gentleness, as with all the elements of the fruit of the Spirit, it is good to pursue the goal of having more in your life, but the only sure way to have more of the fruit of the Spirit is to have more of the Spirit. If you have a problem with gentleness, or more specifically not enough of it, pray. Ask God to fill you with more of His Spirit so that you may have more of the fruit.