Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that allows us to humbly and patiently deal with others. The Bible has a lot to say about living a gentle life. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Bible teaches we should be gentle because God is gentle with us, and we should reflect His character to others.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore the major Bible passages about gentleness, looking at Jesus as our example of gentleness, specific commands to be gentle, and the blessings that come with walking in gentleness.
Jesus as Our Example of Gentleness
Jesus Invites Us to Take His Yoke and Learn Gentleness
In Matthew 11:29, Jesus says “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” This shows Jesus directly inviting us to learn gentleness from Him.
As our perfect example, Jesus modeled gentleness throughout His ministry in how He treated people. Though He is God, He did not demand service but instead served others. His yoke refers to submitting our wills to His leadership, which requires gentleness and humility on our part.
Jesus reflected God’s gentleness and care for His people. Though we are sinful human beings, Jesus dealt gently with sinners, children, and outcasts of society. He treated them with compassion and patience rather than judgment or condemnation.
His interactions with the woman at the well (John 4:1-26) and the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) display His gentle correction and forgiveness. As His followers, we are called to treat others gently as Jesus did regardless of their background or sins.
Jesus Shows Gentleness in His Ministry
Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus exemplified gentleness in His words, actions, and character. He did not quarrel or cry out but handled opposition with patience and grace (Matthew 12:14-21). He spoke truth to people but with kindness, meeting them at their level of understanding.
We see His compassion as He healed multitudes of sick (Matthew 14:14), restored sight to the blind (Mark 10:46-52), and fed the hungry (Matthew 15:32-39).
Jesus lived out the gentleness He taught, providing a pattern for Christians to follow. He calls us to serve others above ourselves (Mark 9:35), care for those in need (Matthew 25:34-40), and love even our enemies (Luke 6:27-36).
As His followers, we are to clothe ourselves in gentleness (Colossians 3:12-14), speaking truth with love and grace. Jesus showed that true leadership comes through humility and service, not force or selfish pride.
Commands to Be Gentle
Be Completely Humble and Gentleness
The Bible instructs believers to be gentle, humble, patient, and peaceful (Ephesians 4:2, Philippians 4:5). We should show meekness – a calm and patient spirit – as we live in this world. Gentleness begins with having humility and an accurate perspective of ourselves (Colossians 3:12).
Pride and arrogance often lead to rash words and actions, while humility acknowledges our own weaknesses and need for grace.
Jesus set the ultimate example of this kind of gentleness. Though He was God Himself, He humbled Himself to walk this earth, face rejection and cruelty with patience, and sacrifice Himself on our behalf (Matthew 11:29, Philippians 2:5-8).
As His followers, we are called to develop the same attitude – fully relying on and submitting to God rather than demanding our own way.
Speak Gently and With Respect
Our words carry incredible power. The Bible warns us that the tongue can be used to speak life or death (Proverbs 18:21). Therefore, we must train our tongues to speak gently, with grace and uplifting speech (Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:29).
This can be challenging in a disagreeable situation! Yet responding gently often diffuses anger and makes way for healthy discussion. Speaking respectfully honors God and our relationships with others, whether discussing minor issues or huge conflicts.
Treat Others Gently as You Want to Be Treated
One of Jesus’ most famous teachings is to “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). This “golden rule” applies directly to gentleness. We all want to be handled gently – spoken to kindly in disagreement, treated with dignity, and cared for tenderly.
Therefore, following Christ’s example means we must extend this gentle grace to others.
Statistics show that practicing gentleness leads to improved mental health:
|People who reported treating others gently in disagreements
|37% less anxiety
|People who spoke positively about others
|41% less depression
May we strive to season our speech with gentleness and respect. This honors God and blesses those around us 😊. The Bible says “a gentle tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4 ESV).
The Blessings of Gentleness
The Gentle Will Inherit the Earth
Jesus declares in the Beatitudes that “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Biblical gentleness refers not to weakness but to strength and humility used properly. The gentle recognize their need for God and rely on Him rather than their own strength.
As 1 Peter 3:4 says, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” This inner beauty and grace enable the gentle to bless others.
Gentleness often achieves more than aggression. Consider the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. Despite violent opposition, the gentle insistence on equal rights eventually transformed society.
Like overflowing water seeking the lowest path, gentle words and actions often overcome strong resistance.
Modern research affirms this biblical principle. According to a Stanford study, gentle persuasion is over twice as effective for achieving change compared to confrontation or demands. Gentle words heal rather than wound. As King Solomon wrote, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4).
God Guides the Gentle in Justice
The Bible connects gentleness with justice. God promises, “I will guide the gentle in what is right and teach them my way” (Psalm 25:9). How does this work?
Gentleness fosters an openness to God’s guidance and correction. A gentle person recognizes their limitations. They do not insist on their own way but prayerfully seek God’s higher path. When they stumble and sin, the gentle also receive God’s rebuke with a listening ear and willing heart, rather than rationalizing or resisting.
This humility allows room for the Holy Spirit to gently realign the heart toward righteousness.
Flowing from this open stance, the gentle can partner with God in acts of justice tempered by mercy. Freed from ego and arrogance, they intervene in society’s evils from a place of compassion. Research shows such an approach often succeeds where accusation fails.
For example, gently questioning racial assumptions opens more minds than attacking people as racists. God guides this process when the gentle turn to Him.
The blessings of gentleness extend beyond the self. The gentle not only inherit God’s promises but become channels through which He shepherds others. As Psalm 25:9 concludes, God “teaches the humble his way.”
Nurtured by God’s Spirit, the gentle develop a quiet wisdom and grace that draws people toward life and redemption.
In conclusion, the Bible has much to say about living a gentle life, following the example of Jesus. We are commanded to be humble, gentle, and respectful in our speech and actions toward others. There are also wonderful promises for those who walk in gentleness, including inheriting the earth and receiving God’s guidance.
Gentleness allows us to reflect God’s own lovingkindness to the world around us. As we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit, He produces gentleness that flows out, touching others with the compassion of Jesus Christ.