When we think of gentleness, we often think of a certain kind of behavior: quietness, softness, and a sense of weakness that, especially as men, turns our stomachs. Is that what gentleness is? If not, how should we define gentleness according to the Bible and how does that fruit come about in the life of the believer?
The most common definition of gentleness is “power under control.” While I think that is a good definition, I don’t think it is deep enough considering the biblical material on the subject, and thus I have my own definition. Gentleness is a Christ-like, controlled consideration of others. This definition focuses on the active element of gentleness, whereas the passive element of gentleness is a word often used as a synonym, and that is the word meekness. Jerry Bridges elaborates on this difference when he says, “Gentleness is an active trait, describing the manner in which we should treat others. Meekness is a passive trait, describing the proper Christian response when others mistreat us.”
These two words are used interchangeably, but the direction we are heading is toward the active trait or fruit known as gentleness, which is again a Christ-like, controlled consideration of others. We will take a closer look at this fruit of the Spirit this week and by God’s grace, our lives will be different.