The Weakness of Gentleness

Perhaps no grace is less prayed for, or less cultivated than gentleness.
Rev. George W. Bethune

Gentleness in our society is frowned upon and seen as weakness. We tend to automatically label some one with gentleness as a doormat or pushover. Yet, when we are at the receiving end of gentleness we appreciate and are drawn towards it. We don’t see a mom nurturing her child as weak. We don’t see a dad cuddling his newborn as weak. So then why do we perceive demonstrating gentleness towards our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as weak?

The word for gentleness in Galatians 5 is Prautes. Like many Greek words Prautes comes with an image that can never truly be translated into English. From the writers of the New Testament to Aristotle, Prautes conveys a power which we in the West do not associate with gentleness.

Biblically the word prautes is used to express a condition of the heart and mind. Gentleness is shown to not be easily angered and strength under control. When you do a cross reference in the New Testament it is interesting that gentleness is usually associated with teaching, reproaching, and in being ready to make a defense of the Gospel.* If we say we love everyone then we are to interact with EVERYONE with gentleness. Aristotle defined the word as the correct balance of man from being angry at everything and not angry at all. Gentleness (prautes) describes someone who is not mad a personal insults but is one who will defend others from injustice. Greek writings use the word to describe a soft wind, healing medicine, and a colt to be broken. This is where the idea of strength under control comes from.

Gentleness (prautes) describes someone who is not hold a grudge at personal insults but is one who will defend others from injustice.

We don’t get to pick and choose which fruit we will put on. It is a package deal. You cannot love and not have gentleness. You cannot have self-control without gentleness. You cannot be patient without gentleness. If you are lacking in one you lacking in them all. In Ephesians 4 Paul writes about the manner in which we were called. Go and read this passage and see what it means to have unity in Christ. Then go read Galatians 5.

Gentleness is nothing to be scoffed at; on the contrary it is something to be admired, to be sought after, to be prayed for in our own lives. The one who is gentle shows more strength than the one that brings the storm.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:3

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