MONDAY, JULY 20
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT: GENTLENESS
Richard Dunagin wrote: At their school carnival, our kids won four free goldfish (lucky us!), so out I went Saturday morning to find an aquarium. The first few I priced ranged from $40 to $70. Then I spotted it—right in the aisle: a discarded 10-gallon display tank, complete with gravel and filter—for a mere five bucks. Sold! Of course, it was nasty dirty, but the savings made the two hours of clean-up a breeze. Those four new fish looked great in their new home, at least for the first day. But by Sunday one had died. Too bad, but three remained. Monday morning revealed a second casualty, and by Monday night a third goldfish had gone belly up. We called in an expert, a member of our church who has a 30-gallon tank. It didn’t take him long to discover the problem: I had washed the tank with soap, an absolute no-no. My uninformed efforts had destroyed the very lives I was trying to protect.
Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use “killer soaps”—condemnation, criticism, nagging, fits of temper. We think we’re doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.
In our service at Northstar Sunday Casey said gentleness means handling people with care. The word gentleness literally can mean strength under control. Everyday, we have the ability to use our words and actions to hurt people or to help people. When we are being led by the Spirit of God we desire to use our power in constructive ways. It’s easy to justify our harshness sometimes by declaring that’s just the way we are or we just call it like we see it. However, the Spirit of God lives inside of believers to transform “the way we are” and to make us more like Christ. Can you list any times recently where you had the opportunity to respond with gentleness or harshness? Which did you choose?