Honey vs. Vinegar

When I sat down to reflect on the character trait of gentleness, I needed to get a solid definition of what gentleness really is.  According to a dictionary I found, Gentleness means “not severe, harsh, or extreme; moderate; friendly; polite.”  I think we can all take away something about showing a little gentleness to those we interact with each day.  When we show gentleness to others, we often find ourselves exhibiting other positive character traits such as compassion, generosity, and forgiveness.  This is not a stand-alone character trait.

In today’s society, it is easy to react in ways that we think will help us get what we want, but would not be considered gentle.  For example, how do we react when our order is wrong at a restaurant?  Or, how about when something doesn’t go our way at work or school?  We have all seen it, and probably don’t want to admit that maybe we have done it, but if we get loud, get angry, or demand to see the next person in charge, we will hopefully get what we want.  When gentleness is on display, we aren’t looking for someone to blame or someone to yell at.  We stay away from the extreme reactions and remain moderate, friendly, and polite.  We are not going to get upset and the waitress who brought us something we weren’t expecting.  We will show gentleness by asking politely if we have may have a different order, or just be grateful that we have the capacity to be at a restaurant where someone brought us some food to eat.  We don’t know what kind of day that person has had.  Showing a little gentleness may have been what that waitress needed to go home and share some gentleness with someone else.

Honey vs. Vinegar—GentlenessWe can come up with a pretty long list of character traits.  We could probably also debate which ones we consider most important.  However, I know of a list that I remind myself of each day.  Galatians 5:22-23 gives us high priority list when it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Gentleness is without a doubt a fruit of the Spirit.  As we show gentleness to others, whether they deserve it or not, we are displaying God’s love to our fellow man.  Grandma used to always say something about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar.  I didn’t always know what she meant by that, but she was one of the most gentle souls I have ever known.

Show some gentleness today because it can be contagious.

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