Even though I can’t believe it’s already here, I couldn’t be more happy it’s November. We’re moving out of my least favorite season (late summer — hot and dry and brown) and into my favorite time of year, with cool weather, rainy days, boots and scarves, soup, and, best of all my Snuggie! I seriously love fall.
And now that it’s November, I’m cultivating gentleness. Of all of the fruits of the Spirit, this one is probably the one that most people sort of cock their head to one side and say, “Really? Gentleness? Of all the things…”
Problem is, gentleness is easily confused with something it’s not: weakness. No wonder — the word gentleness seems soft and sort of spineless. It may be equated with newborns and bunnies and summer breezes. But that’s not really what biblical gentleness is. It’s probably the least understood — and perhaps most undervalued — of all of the fruits.
Gentleness, instead, is the idea of strength under control. It’s like a linebacker holding a newborn. The linebacker could easily harm the child, but he keeps his power under control, cradling the baby in his arms. It’s the idea that in conflict, we can rise up in anger or violence, but we remain calm and in control. It’s not being pushy and insisting it’s our way or the highway. To be gentle is to not misuse our power.
Gentleness often goes by the similar (but not identical) word “meekness.” Gentleness (at least to me) seems to refer to a more physical definition — of acting in a gentle manner. Meekness is a gentle attitude and spirit. Together, I believe these give the most accurate definition of what it means to be biblically gentle.
I’m really looking forward to working on my gentle spirit and actions. I know sometimes I can be bossy and know-it-all-y and I can wield my own forms of power without thinking of who I may crush in my path. And because I learned last month I need to redouble my focus on this project, I think it’s going to be an interesting month!