Gentleness is one among the nine qualities listed as fruit of the Spirit. I have been reading and musing about gentleness for a considerable duration.The dictionary meaning of gentleness is, ‘the quality of being kind, tender or mild mannered’.
Gentleness from the Bible
The Bible says, ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath’ (Pro 15:1).
The best example for gentleness would be Jesus. He responded with gentleness when he was iltreated by the soldiers. Even though the Son of Man had all authority on the earth he gave back gentleness, this is a rare commodity. Having the power to be hard yet choosing to be gentle is difficult. While at the same time being weak and showing gentleness is possible.
Bones are considered to be the hardest part in the human body next to enamel. Bone have a high compressive strength but can be fractures with excessive forces.
Pro 25:15 ‘A gentle tongue can break a bone’
So gentleness can’t be equated to weakness. Gentleness requires focused strength. Gentleness requires the immense potential to organise your response to an untoward situation. Gentleness is never weakness but it is the potential to act with concern to the opposite person.
Being gentle to a good person is easy while doing the same to an evil doer is challenging. Likewise being gentle when you are subordinate is possible than when you are with supreme power. Hence to display gentleness one have to possess strength.
Gentleness is true strength expressed by prioritising the offender
God’s provision is promised to everyone who fear (Psa 111:5). God provided for Elijah when he was near the brook of Kerith. God provided for Mephibosheth at the table of David. God provides for both these people but there is a difference between them.
For Mephibosheth God provided a grand feast with lots of food varieties at the king’s banquet. According to Matt 6:11, ‘Give us today our daily bread’ food was presented to him at every meal. A banquet table usually has a variety of stuff starter, bread, gravy, rice. He had the luxury of choosing the course of his meal. He has the liberty of choice to pick and choose from what God provided for him each day.
On the other hand Elijah was spoon fed. I say spoon fed because he had to eat what was provided.
‘Give me only my daily bread’, these words are taken from the Bible as mentioned in Proverbs 30: 9 (New International Version). These five words arranged in a a thoughtful way gives a whole depth of meaning. The word in this verse simply admits the fact that God knows what is best for their life.
Praying this prayer helps us to confess the trust that God will do his best for us. Both theses provisions are required in our life. Because in the banquet feeding God promises a consistent and constant provision. While in the spoon feeding God promises the best feeding.
Witness is a person who is treated as an evidence or proof for an event. A false witness is a person who presents a fallacious accusation against an innocent. False witnessing can derail the course of the judgement. How often do we encounter a court scene where one has to pronounce a false witness? Not very common, right! But incidents at home, work which need a little more of spices to prove their evidence are not uncommon. We pitch in to add words or alter words or transpose words or replace words to wreck the situation in favor of a friend/family member/colleague. Where else are we forced to raise our hands as false witness.
The Bible is tricky against such false witness. In Exo 20:16 we read, ‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor’.
A false witness pours out lies (Pro 12:17), tells lies (Pro 14:5) and is deceitful (Pro 14:25). The Psalmist prays to keep falsehood.
Fate of a false witness
The fate of a false witness as mentioned in the Bible is scary. In Pro 19:5 it is said that , ‘A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free. And in Pro 19:9 it is said that ‘A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish’. Both these verses claimed that any false witness will be punished. So let us be careful with the words and witnesses that we bear.
The literal meaning of overlook is ‘fail to notice’. Overlooking is looking beyond. Imagine if there was a hedge that blocked the scenery beyond. But you fail to notice the hedge but try to concentrate on the scenery. Overlooking the hedge helps you to enjoy the scenery. You try to weigh the importance of the hedge lower than the beauty of the scenery. Another simple example of overlooking would be to look beyond the window to see the person standing or to enjoy the garden site. Overlooking helps to focus on the better things or necessary things instead of the obstacles.
Overlooking is importance between spouse, siblings, family members and friends. Overlooking is necessary for any relationship to thrive. Overlooking in relationships is failing to notice someone’s offense against you. Overlooking is when one tries to look beyond harsh words, insults, jealousy, pride, belittling, abuse, anger and rage. We all would have experienced any of the above listed sufferings. The way we reciprocate is important. Holding a Christian way of reciprocation is vital.
Fools do not overlook
The Bible in Pro 12:16 says, ‘Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult’. Showing annoyance as a result of insult is the criteria of the fools. But on the contrary the prudent would overlook the insult in order to move on. Fools lack the ability to overlook hence would burst out their anger. Fools give back and take revenge for the offence caused against them.
What do we require to overlook?
I was meditating on this question, Pro 19:11 ‘A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense’ came as an answer. When you need to overlook you will need enormous amount of patience which is nurtured out from wisdom. The patience that is required here is patience with self control which is nothing but forbearance. Forbearance is a fruit of the spirit. When we ask for forbearance to our Heavenly Father he would instill this quality in us that we may reflect Christ in our daily life. Wisdom is the key to learn the art of resenting to an offence with patience. Our Father is the fountain of wisdom, so let us ask for wisdom to nurture forbearance. God given wisdom would inculcate the forbearance necessary to overlook an insult.
Usually the birth of a child is considered to be a happy occasion. Naming of that child is even more joyous. When Jabez was born, his mother experienced a painful childbirth. So she named him Jabez meaning pain or sorrow. Jabez had a name which signified the bad omen around his birth.
Jabez had a past. Yet his present was contrary to it. Jabez belongs to the pedigree of the tribe of Judah. Jabez sort after the perfect healer of his past. Yes, Jabez resorted to The Lord God of Israel. He cried to God that He would bless him. His only supplication to God, was to enlarge his territory. He pleaded that the hand of God be on him. He prayed to be far away from harm and free from pain. God granted his request.
Our God is the Alpha and Omega. He transformed the past of Jabez and blessed his present. God directed him with His powerful hand to rise above his painful and depressing past. Jabez was raised above his family heritage of pain since he made a wise decision.
We wise decision can disjoin your painful past and lead you towards a prosperous present