But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness…. (Galatians 5:22-23)
“Would the gentleman from North Carolina please yield the floor?”
“The gentle lady from California makes a good point.”
The U.S. Senate may be the last place in this country where people are recognized as being gentle. It’s a nice trait. “Gentle” means you are not bombastic, not mean-spirited, not rude or unkind or harsh.
My goal is to become more gentle in this life.
Various translations make this “kindness” and “goodness.” Same difference, I suppose, although there is something about “gentleness” that weighs heavily on my mind.
Did you hear about the local preacher who was protesting a “gay and lesbian pride” march winding its way through the French Quarter? According to the news reports, the minister was preaching to the participants in harsh and condemning tones. At one point, a woman decided that this angry man of God (we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt on this point) needed a hug. So, she stepped out of the crowd, walked over to him, and kissed him.
He has filed charges against her. Accuses her of assault.
On my Facebook page, I made a little joke about this, pointing out that if that preacher doesn’t know the difference in a kiss and an assault, he has lots of problems. Within hours, I had fifty comments. Some took me to task for my levity, some pointed out that if the woman was HIV positive and had some kind of openness on her mouth, she could infect him. Others wanted to weigh in on the homosexual issue.
My concern was lost in the uproar. I was wishing the preacher had been gentler, kinder, nicer.
If the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness–and it is–then is it not true that whenever a person claiming to be a follower of Jesus is anything but gentle and kind, we may conclude from their actions that they are not Spirit-filled?