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So what does this gentle restoration or correction look like? Well here’s what it doesn’t look like, from a real example I observed: “How could you be so stupid, did you grow up with wolves? You are going to pay for this buster, and you’re going to straight to hell where you belong.” I have left out a few words and names that can’t be uttered in church, but you get the message. This was a wife who just found out that her husband had had an affair.

Gentle correction might look something like this. Again from a real life conversation between a couple of Christian accountability partners. “Man, we all struggle with sin. What man doesn’t find beautiful women attractive. But you have got to get this under control before you lose all the things that are important to you. I care about you too much to sit back and watch that happen. How can I help you? Lets read what God says about it right now.” This fella was having trouble viewing porn on the internet.

When I thought of these examples, the definitions of gentleness that include suitableness and usefulness came to mind. Guess which response was more effective in those two examples?

But here is the big one when it comes to relationships being healed. If you do not have a Spirit of gentleness which includes the absence of pride, you will find it very hard to forgive. More and more I am realizing that the key to any relationship healing is real forgiveness, and if I am not willing to put myself in the other person’s shoes and view them with gentleness and compassion, my pride will dig its heals in and hold onto a desire to make sure the other person doesn’t get off the hook for what they did. But what use is that?

That’s not how God instructs us to heal relationships, so why should we be surprised when they don’t heal doing it our way. There can be no moving forward if even one person in the relationship can’t move to a stance of gentleness and forgiveness, because it takes two people to make a relationship work. A broken relationship cannot be healed unless there is authentic forgiveness from a gentle, humble heart.

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