Hm… a spirit of gentleness. What does that look like? A couple inspirations about this today:
1) Holy Spirit wants us to apply this in our treatment of our own selves. Being gentle with ourselves? That’s challenging! Oh, it’s ever so easy to be harsh with oneself, isn’t it? This morning, I found myself starting to self-reproach for not “handling” this tough season as perfectly as I would like to. Holy Spirit checked me on this. He said that I need to be kind and gentle in the way I talk to myself about it.
Same for you, my dearly loved friend. He wants you to be kind to yourself too. If you feel like you are not meeting up to your own expectations, practice a spirit of gentleness in your self-talk about the matter. Address yourself with Jesus’ warmth. Remember that you are the one that He loves. Treat yourself as someone worthy of tenderness. Because you are.
2) He also wants us to apply it in our treatment of others on social media. In today’s intense political climate, how often do we encounter posts that press one of our emotional “buttons?” Does it seem like we frequently find someone “doing wrong” in what they commented or shared? Take another peek at today’s verse: “Brothers and sisters, if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual should restore someone like this with a spirit of gentleness.”
When one of our buttons gets pressed, we should take James’ approach first of all: “Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry” (Ja. 1:19, CEB). Let’s sloooowww down. Let’s lay our upset inner response to that troublesome post before Holy Spirit. Let’s ask the Father for His perspective. Let’s lean in and listen… “Daddy God, are You leading me to say/type something at this moment?” Much of the time, He may not have us comment anything at all.
On the chance that He does, though, let the standard of our response be Galatians 6:1. A spirit of gentleness. And not just surface niceness. If our words are not saturated with genuine gentleness, perhaps we should not allow them to flow from our mouths. That’s what a spirit of gentleness means: it’s not just word choice. It’s the heart behind what we are saying, posting, or speaking.
As we practice self-kindness, allowing Jesus’ gentleness to flow through us… to us, it will help set the right atmosphere on the inside of us. This, in turn, will aid us greatly in our efforts to practice a spirit of gentleness with others. Freely receive Jesus’ gentleness… then freely give it away.
But what about when the other person’s stance seems so glaringly wrong? Isn’t it our place to speak up for truth? How does this go with the Scriptural mandate for kindness, patience, and gentleness?