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Christianity: gentleness

Luke Breuer
2010-04-25 09:36 UTC

general thoughts
Note that nobody has a "privileged position" in the below. James 3:13 and Romans 3:23 support this quite firmly.
  • you may think you know exactly how someone needs to grow, but:
    • you actually don't, because they're not like you
    • do not try to shove them or push them or tug at them harshly, because that won't work
  • forgive much, correct a little (as in, dole out grace in large quantities)
  • help bear the burden that immediately follows correction of a sin — but wean the person off of your help (this may happen automatically?)
  • do not respond to anger with anger
  • to lack gentleness is to have perverseness that breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:4)
  • gentle action can wear away the most hard substances (think: erosion of rock)
  • Jesus' burden on us is gentle, or phrased another way, custom fit to us
    • we have the tendency to put burdens too hard to bear on others (Matthew 23)
  • it is gentleness, not harshness, which brings us to repentance (Rom 2:4)
  • severity goes toward those who have fallen (Rom 11:22); if we continue in obedience to God, we get kindness
    • fallen probably means hard-hearted, stubborn, or unrepentant (see pipto: http://net.bible.org/strong.php?id=4098 )
    • in 1 Corinthians 4:21, Paul was asking whether the Corinthians would be obedient or not — a rod is deserved if they chose to be disobedient, otherwise gentleness was deserved
  • Godly wisdom is gentle (James 3:17)
scripture
Translations are RSV if not indicated otherwise.
Deuteronomy 32:2
Moses' song before his death, instructing the Israelites as they were about to conquer the Promised Land
May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dew, as the gentle rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb.
2 Samuel 18:5a
Absalom had rebelled against David, but David still requested gentleness
And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.”
2 Samuel 22:36 (NKJV)
David speaking in song, near the end of his life
RSV: "help"; NIV: "stoop down"
“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your gentleness has made me great.
1 Kings 19:12 (NIV)
RSV: "small"
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
Psalm 18:35 (NIV)
This is very similar to 2 Samuel 22:36
You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
RSV: "soft"
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:4
NKJV: "wholesome"; NIV: "that brings healing"
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 25:15 (NKVJ)
RSV: "soft"
By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded,
And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.
Matthew 11:29-30
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Romans 2:4
Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Romans 11:22
The word "gentle" is not used, but this verse is very likely relevant!
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.
1 Corinthians 4:21
What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
2 Corinthians 10:1
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold to you when I am away!
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (NKJV)
RSV: "meekness"
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:31-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Philippians 4:5 (NKJV)
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
1 Thessalonians 2:7
But we were gentle among you, like a nurse taking care of her children.
1 Timothy 3:1-3
The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher, no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money.
1 Timothy 6:11
But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NKVJ)
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Titus 3:1-2
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.
Hebrews 5:1-2
For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.
James 3:17
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.
1 Peter 3:15b
Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;