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The strength of gentleness

15 July 2022
‘He did not retaliate.’

When someone disappoints or upsets us, our immediate reaction is often anger, and looking back on the event, we might continue to think, ‘That person makes me so mad!’? When we think or say that, we’re admitting someone else has some control over our emotions. We’re acknowledging that we’ve given the other person some power to determine our feelings and reactions. No one can take control from us, but moment we start reacting hastily, we lose control.

The Bible says, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21 NIV). To retaliate is to react. But to forgive is to act. It’s saying, ‘I choose the way I respond.’ If we’re not careful, other people’s words and actions can end up controlling our emotions, raising our happiness level or plunging us into worry and anger. But the Bible says, ‘Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city’ (Proverbs 16:32 NLT).

A person who can control their moods and reactions is stronger than a walled city. But a person who can’t control their own spirit is defenceless, like a city with no walls around it. That person has no defence; they’re at the mercy of whatever anyone else says or does. True strength is found in gentleness, and gentleness has the ability to handle a disappointment without retaliating. Gentleness doesn’t need to score points of the other person or try to get revenge. Jesus called it ‘turning the other cheek’ (see Matthew 5:39). It isn’t easy to do, and sometimes it’ll feel impossible. But gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). With God’s help, we can cultivate it, and with His power, we can show the strength of gentleness.

 

What Now?

Choose one of the Gospels and read about times when someone challenged Jesus in some way. Pay particular attention to how He responded to the challenges.

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