Truth Plus Love

Day 3 of 6 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Love is a common topic among Christians, but it’s not as common to hear about the fruit of the Spirit of gentleness and kindness. But God not only calls us to truth; He also calls us to gentleness.

When we are harsh and unkind to others, we are walking in the flesh instead of the Spirit. But we walk in God’s way when our words and responses—even in speaking difficult truths—are filled with kindness and gentleness. 

One question that has been heavy on my heart for many years now is, “How is the world supposed to see the grace of God if the people of God are not gracious to other believers and to those who are far from God?” 

Being kind and gentle these days is countercultural. But we are called to look different from the world around us. This means we need to forgive others who have hurt us, work at reconciliation in broken or difficult relationships, and allow our gentleness to be evident and out front for everyone to see. We should use our words, even when we speak truth, to build people up, not tear them down. 

There are obstacles to living a life of kindness and gentleness. Some of these include:

·  Feeling we have a right to be angry. Our world is often harsh and angry, so we can feel as if we have the right to be angry as well. But we shouldn’t get distracted from our primary message of hope.

·  Having a critical spirit. When we walk away away from criticism, coldness, and division, we receive God’s blessing in our lives. 

·  Being overly intense. We need to understand that true spiritual maturity is about growing in the fruit of the Spirit. 

·  Being overly driven and lacking margin. If we slow down in life and give more space in our relationships, finances, and schedules, it will go a long way toward helping us be more gentle and kind.

Here’s what gentleness looks like in our lives:

·  Gentleness repents of past unkindness. 

·  Gentleness listens to others. 

·  Gentleness cares deeply and gives freely without expecting something in return. 

When we walk in counter-cultural gentleness and kindness, we will gain influence with people around us: our family, our neighborhood, our workplace, and our world.

Respond

In what ways has kindness been given a bad reputation in our culture? 

What makes it difficult for you to be gentle in your attitude toward others? How can you remove some of the obstacles to gentleness?

How does your relationship with Jesus express itself in gentleness in your words, attitudes, and actions?