Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 1 – Gentleness (Proverbs 15:1)
LESSON: GENTLENESS (Gentle means being humble)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
Bible Story: David, Nabal and Abigail (1 Samuel 25)
David and his friends were staying in the Desert of Paran. While they were there, they were kind to the shepherds who were with them in the fields. Those shepherds were servants of a rich but foolish man named Nabal. Nabal had a wife named Abigail.
When it was time to shear the sheep, David sent some of his men to Nabal to ask him for a gift which he would be kind enough to give, considering that David and his men helped protect his sheep in the fields. Instead of giving a gift, Nabal insulted David, and this made David so mad that he planned to kill Nabal in revenge. When Abigail heard about this, she acted quickly and wisely. She gathered food and other supplies and went to David to make peace for Nabal.
With kind and gentle words coming from a humble heart, Abigail helped David to see it would be wrong for him to kill Nabal. She asked for forgiveness in behalf of her husband and through her careful gentle words, David’s heart was changed. In 1 Samuel 25: 32-34 it says,
“David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”
When a meek or humble person decides to speak to an angry or highly emotional person, his initial goal would not be to prove who is right or wrong, but simply to show respect and kindness, even if the other person is using very hurtful words. This kind of gentleness is something that comes from the Holy Spirit, and to attempt to do it using only our own human abilities would be futile. It takes time and prayer and allowing the Spirit to mold us in order to bear His fruits.
In this story, we see how Abigail’s gentleness helped change the outcome of the situation. David was very angry, and harsh words would have only fueled his anger more. But kind and gentle words have a way of calming down an angry person.
Gentleness as a fruit of the spirit is more of an outward action, and it comes from a person’s inner attitude – being humble. Some might think that being gentle is a sign of weakness, but the truth is, it is “God’s power used in love.” When we are motivated by God’s love, then surely we can give a gentle answer in any situation and it brings the peace of God to whomever gets to hear it.