Gentleness is named as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. One of the definitions of gentleness is to ennoble; dignify. Whenever we treat people with gentleness we dignify our fellowman. Sometimes the last thing we want to be is gentle – especially if we are not getting our way. But the Bible encourages us that we don’t always need to be severe or harsh in our responses. In fact, the Bible tells us that if we are patient, a soft tongue can persuade a ruler. May I also add that a gentle tongue can speak to a discouraged heart?
When I think of gentleness, I can’t help but to recall a story in 1 Kings beginning in chapter 19. It is a story about a man named Elijah who was a prophet of God and who was a man of great faith. However, after he experienced two wonderful spiritual victories, a woman named Jezebel threatened his life and he became so afraid of her, that he ran for his life. Elijah ran to a place called Beersheba in Judah and when he arrived he prayed to God that he might die. Elijah was so fatigued and discouraged that he said, “I have had enough, LORD, take my life...” The Bible tells us that God prescribed physical rest and good food for his discouraged heart.
What I love the most about this story is what took place in I Kings 19:10-13. The LORD said to Elijah,“Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." The Bible said, "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” It is evident that God not only reveals Himself in powerful miraculous ways, but God’s voice is also in the gentle sound of a whisper.
The Bible tells us that Elijah recognized the gentleness of God’s voice and that helped him hear the encouragement he needed which enabled him to complete his destiny!
If you or someone you know is discouraged, remember that what a discouraged heart needs more than anything is a peaceful sleep, a good meal, and a gentle word.
If you are having a hard time communicating your point of view with a difficult person, remember don’t physically break their bonesJ, instead try the power of a gentle tongue.
“God is often found gently whispering in the quietness of a humbled heart.” (Bible Commentary)