In today’s society how many times have you heard someone described as “gentle?” Think about it… even the idea of calling someone that, or pointing that out as a good quality has almost become a thing of the past. Yet, here, in our list of the fruit of the Spirit, along with love, joy, peace, and longsuffering, we have “gentleness,” which is chrestotes in the Greek. Think of the opposite of severe.
This word is also something translated as “kindness.” Though it isn’t often directly translated this way, one of my favorite finds in researching this word is that it implies someone that is mellow. I know this is more of a personal account, but when I think of gentleness, it always included the fact that whatever it is being gentle has a choice; meaning, if someone points out that someone or something else is being gentle, it is often surprising. The visual picture I always get is something akin to a large, powerful guard dog, like a Great Pyrenees, taking care of a lamb, or another baby animal. Most little critters are snack-size to a dog like a Great Pyrenees, yet it lets them crawl all over it, and it takes care of them.
God is described as being kind, or gentle, toward us through Jesus.
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
One of the ways God shows His grace (unmerited favor) toward us, is to show us kindness. Then, He also produces that fruit in us. No one should ever confuse gentleness with weakness, but rather controlled strength. “Gentleness” is seen to be the “passive” brother of the next aspect in our list; goodness. More on that in the next article…