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Galatians 5:22–25 ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.’ (vv22–23)

Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, one of nine. We don’t need to struggle to find them, they are a gift from God to every disciple. The struggle is in choosing and then learning to use them consistently and effectively. They are the language of God’s kingdom within our fragmenting world. 

Like Sam Van Aken’s tree of 40 fruits grafted onto a single tree, we too, grafted into God, produce these fruits. We can often see gentleness as flavourless. Gentle people may go unnoticed or are assumed to be weak, but gentleness means ‘of the same clan’. In this case, it is a family characteristic, as identifiable as a fingerprint. 

Genetics suggests we naturally reproduce the good and the bad fruit we associate with our biological parents. At times we may despair of ever-changing these instinctive behaviours. However, once grafted into God’s vine (John 15:1–17) we have God’s invitation and an opportunity to change. 

Grafts are tricky and may need time to take, but we want all nine grafts to prove effective. Maybe it’s useful to concentrate on each graft in turn, with gentleness the first of the family resemblances to work on. Gentleness is a disposition which applies to every sphere of life. 

A Chinese proverb says, ‘Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.’ Good advice, for we all have faults yet want to be accepted and loved, ‘warts and all’. Love begets love (1 John 4:19), and so we can provoke love by adopting gentleness at all times.


Lev. 19:11–19; Prov. 15:1–15; Matt. 11:25–30; Col. 3:12–17


Start by being gentle with yourself and acknowledging your own faults. Then treat others with that same degree of gentleness.


‘Lord, may I learn to use the fruit of Your Spirit to advance Your kingdom on earth. Amen.’

Photo by Cédric VT on Unsplash
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.