Summary: We live in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ world. There is not even much gentleness or goodness where you might expect to find it: nurses and doctors have become preoccupied with lawsuits and their paychecks, homes are toxic environments, and churches are full of bitter
Do gentleness and goodness seem like qualities on the top of many lists? What do these words mean to you? For some, it might mean being a push-over or a marshmallow… to others, it might be a coveted virtue. Needless to say, these character traits are as scarce as water in a summer Arizona desert. We live in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ world. There is not even much gentleness or goodness where you might expect to find it: nurses and doctors have become preoccupied with their paychecks, homes are toxic environments, and churches are full of bitterness. It’s tragic how few true ‘gentlemen’ are living generous, good lives in today’s society.
I’ve chosen to blend these two into one thought because they are so closely related; indeed, they are siblings. Gentleness is the kind, outward interactions pictured by the hands of a cherishing mother. Goodness is the generous, inward intent of the heart of that same mother. Gentleness says, “God does good.” Goodness says, “God is good.”
Gentleness – kind / emphasis: outward; action
Goodness – generous / emphasis: inward; attitude
1. The 2 G’s – Begin with God
Over and over, the Scriptures speak of a gentle and good God. He is good to His children: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd : he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11) “Praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us…” (Ps. 117:1-2) He is gentle with sinners: “The kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared… Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3:4-7) God plans to spend all eternity showing how good He can be: “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us…” (Ephesians 2:7)
But His gentleness and goodness can only come into focus when considered along side His omnipotence and holiness. The mightier the power, the more compelling his trait of gentleness. Consider that He can do anything – including abuse His power – yet He only uses it for our good and His glory. Consider that it’s not necessary to tolerate sin for a split-second, yet He suffers the sinners existence through love. Make no mistake, this is not tolerance or passivism. This is not compromise or softness with sin, nor an inability or impotence to deal with it. His goodness and gentleness reveal His deep understand and great love toward His creation.
The Apostle Paul must have tried to reproduce this kind of goodness on his own – only to fail. He said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18) Our only way to obtain this kind of gentleness and goodness is from the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 states: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” Are you under the influence of something earthly or Someone Heavenly? It can’t be both! We must strip off all controlling parasites and yield ourselves wholly to God. Allowing Him to fill us and control us is the only way to be empowered with this supernatural level of integrity.