But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:27)
Do you have anyone in your life with a calming presence? Someone who brings peace and kindness to any situation? Barnabas was one of these people. He had a gentle spirit. Barnabas showed God’s gentleness toward Saul, giving him a chance when others were resistant to accept him because of his past. In situations where people seemed agitated or angry, Barnabas had a calming matter.
The Fruit of the Spirit of gentleness can be an immense gift to others. Gentleness is not just being timid, tender or placid. It is being slow to anger, quick to forgive and accepting of those who are different than us.
Part of our natural desire when we become Christians is the desire to be more like Christ. He infuses us with His gentle character and, because of this, we are able to show that gentleness to others. Part of having gentleness is wisdom and knowing when it is time to take a step back before things get heated. Barnabas did this well when he had an argument with Paul. Even though they disagreed, he was able to move past it and continue sharing the gospel.
Gentleness is bringing peace to those who are arguing, being careful not to harm or offend others, thinking before we act or speak and showing compassion despite the circumstances. Gentleness is showing humility. It is thinking of ourselves less and, instead, thinking of how we can be kind and compassionate toward others.
Questions to think about:
- What do you think of when you hear the word gentle?
- What is true gentleness?
- How will you respond the next time you are tempted to react in anger?