The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome
but kindly to everyone,
an apt teacher,
patient,
correcting opponents with gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:24-25 (NRSV)

God’s servant must not be argumentative,
but a gentle listener
and a teacher
who keeps cool,
working firmly but patiently
with those who refuse to obey.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 (The Message)

Today we consider gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit.

From birth onward, we seem to know instinctively how to be harsh and even cruel, particularly to those with whom we disagree. Most of us have mastered well the skills of sarcasm and superiority. Gentleness, on the other hand, seems to be something we have to learn, particularly when dealing with those who strongly oppose us.

Yet who among us would not prefer that we ourselves be corrected by a gentle person rather than by someone whose manner is rude and caustic? Paul asks the Corinthians a question whose answer is a foregone conclusion: “What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?”

In our interactions at home, at church, in the workplace, in the world at large, the gentle manner of a Christian believer is a powerful testimony to the alluring gentleness of the Christ to whom we are to bear witness.

Prayer

Give grace, O Lord Jesus, as I seek your way,
that I may grow more and more into your likeness
and that I may bear your ensign
as a banner of hope and direction
before all who are distraught or confused.
Through this time of daily devotion
instill in me your own gentleness,
quiet my over-wrought alarms,
and enable me to rest confidently in your wisdom.
These things grant by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

(excerpts from This Day: A Wesleyan Way of Prayer. Laurence Hull Stookey)

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