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Gentleness

Gentleness

From The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, by Richard J. Smit, chapter 6.

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«Gentleness is a virtue of God himself. In Luke 6:35, we learn that our heavenly Father is “kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” In that verse Christ teaches us to be kind unto our neighbors upon the earth. The basis for that command of Christ is that the Father is kind unto the evil and unthankful. Certainly that is very true concerning the salvation of God’s people. He is very gentle unto the unthankful and evil, such as we are. In fact, while we were yet his enemies, the Father sacrificed Christ for us and thereby redeemed us from our sin, evil, and unthankfulness toward him.
That is the greatest demonstration of God’s kindness unto his people, who in their sin and according to their nature are evil and unthankful. In spite of our evil and unthankfulness, the Father in his sovereign kindness saves us according to his eternal counsel. Now, according to that example and on that basis, we are called to reflect that gentleness unto our earthly neighbors in all our dealings with them.» — Pages 81-82

«Based on what gentleness means with respect to our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, we may then describe the gentleness of the elect, regenerated, and sanctified children of our heavenly Father.
True gentleness for us is the virtue that is the opposite of and is also opposed to all spiritual brutality, hostility, and harshness. Gentleness is not cruel. It is never motivated by a spirit of retaliation by which we decide that the offender must pay double for the pain that he or she has inflicted on us. Gentleness does not strike back. It is not proud. It will not hurtfully poke fun of the afflictions, disabilities, weaknesses, and acute problems of others.
Gentleness is a virtue by which the child of God, who is the covenant-friend of God, shows himself to be spiritually friendly to other members of the body of Christ. It is a virtue by which the child of God deals with fellow believers, not to crush them, but to build them up and to deliver them from spiritual ruin. It is a virtue that regards covenantal friendship and life in the body of Christ as very fragile and precious and a gift of God to be handled delicately. It is a virtue of the handling of the souls of others with great care. It is a virtue that parents must exercise toward their children, whereby the parents handle the souls of their children cautiously, without crushing them under the fist of a tyrant or under the impossible, Pharisaical burdens of endless rules. Instead, the lambs of Christ are handled with his gentleness, which guides the children by instruction and consistent discipline out of the way of sin and unbelief and into the way of faith and a thankful life. The goal of that gentleness is that the children grow up smiling in the fear and admonition of the Lord.» — Pages 87-89.

«The gentleness that meets the Holy Spirit’s standard of excellence has its source in the love of Christ. The foundation and life-source of being kind to one another with a view to Christ and our heavenly Father is the love by which Christ loved us first and, as a result, the love whereby we love Christ first above all else. With that love of Christ in our hearts, there will be the beginning of a life of true gentleness. Where there is that self-denying, thankful, faithful love of Christ and unto Christ, there will be gentleness toward one another.
That love of Christ sees the great gentleness with which Christ has made beautiful and glorious his undeserving bride, his church. In thankfulness for that wondrous, gentle Lord and savior, there will be present in our hearts by the grace and Spirit of Christ the beginning of that gentleness toward our neighbor, especially toward those whom we know and love in our Lord.
Therefore, clothe yourselves with his gentleness, which is the command of the Lord in Colossians 3:12: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness.” We must clothe ourselves with this virtue of kindness, or, as it is also called in Scripture, gentleness.» - Pages 90—91.

«This faithful exercise of gentleness will result in peace ... clothing ourselves with the virtue of kindness will have the result of the enjoyment of peace toward our heavenly Father as we seek to be as he is toward us. In that way, we will enjoy the priceless assurance that we are the Father’s children. Furthermore, this exercise of gentleness will bear good fruit in our families and in our church homes. 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. Consequently, the result of kindness is an occasion for thankfulness. The end of our salvation is that God might be praised and thanked. Our gentleness is blessed by God with the result of thankfulness, sometimes immediately, and at other times over a long period of time, in those to whom we deal in a kind and gentle spirit.
Give thanks to God that he makes it possible by the wonder of his grace that we who were once dead branches are now living branches in Christ Jesus, to bring forth the fruit of gentleness. Believing in the gentleness of his sovereign and irresistible mercy toward us, let us, then, in thankfulness clothe ourselves with kindness toward one another.» — 99-101.

See also by the same author: The Peace of God

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