Retaliate with Gentleness
In chapter 6 of The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Rev. Smit explains the lovely Christian characteristic of gentleness. Towards the end of the chapter Rev. Smit speaks of the connection between gentleness and the characteristics of love and peace, which precede gentleness in Gal. 5:22-23. Christian love is characterized by gentleness. And the fruit of gentleness is peace. If we desire to experience the joys of love and peace in our relationships with God and our relationships with others, then we must pray for the Spirit of Jesus Christ to produce in us the virtue of gentleness.
Rev. Smit carefully lays out all the aspects of gentleness. It is a “virtue of God" (see pg 80-81). It is displayed by God’s grace to sinners in Jesus Christ (pg 82-83). Jesus Christ demonstrated gentleness during his earthly ministry and provided an example for us to follow (pg 83-87). It is the opposite of “brutality, hostility, and harshness (pg 88-89).” It is not the same as “natural gentleness" (pg 88). The source of gentleness for Christians is the “love of Christ" (pg 90). It is worked in Christians by the Spirit of Jesus Christ through the means of the word and prayer (pg 91). It is a kindness that is unconditional, constant, holy, and righteous (pg 92-94).
Instead of commenting any further on the chapter, I decided to share a few of Rev. Smit’s keen insights with you. Hopefully they will be enough to encourage you to pick up the book and the read the chapter.
About the woman taken in adultery Rev. Smit writes: “The Pharisees were brutal and selfishly harsh with that woman. . . . Unwittingly, the Pharisees were a tool in the hand of the Lord to bring the woman to the right place: her merciful savior. Christ in his mercy was kind unto her" (pg 84-85).
About Peter’s denial of Jesus Rev. Smit writes: “Jesus did not destroy Peter, nor did he yell angrily across the courtyard at Peter. Jesus looked right into the heart and soul of Peter, so that Peter remembered that Jesus foretold that Peter would deny Christ exactly as he had just done. Jesus brought Peter to repentance with that gentle but soul-piercing look of mercy" (pg 86).
About our natural reaction to the sins others commit against us Rev. Smit writes: “to those who provoke us by their sins, we are prone to retaliate in kind, but never in kindness" (pg. 93).
About the blessing of gentleness Rev. Smit writes: “Where we exercise kindness one toward another, strife and schism stop and healing and the enjoyment of blessed peace begin. Where there is that peace, there is the enjoyment of having our gentle savior, by his word and Spirit, dwell within and among us.”
These were some of my favorite statements. Read the chapter and tell me yours.
Other articles by Rev. Spronk on The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ:
This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk will be blogging for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.