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Gentleness

 

GENTLENESS

At their school carnival, our kids won four free goldfish (lucky us!), so out I went Saturday morning to find an aquarium. The first few I priced ranged from $40 to $70. Then I spotted it--right in the aisle: a discarded 10-gallon display tank, complete with gravel and filter--for a mere five bucks. Sold! Of course, it was nasty dirty, but the savings made the two hours of clean-up a breeze.

Those four new fish looked great in their new home, at least for the first day. But by Sunday one had died. Too bad, but three remained. Monday morning revealed a second casualty, and by Monday night a third goldfish had gone belly up. We called in an expert, a member of our church who has a 30-gallon tank. It didn't take him long to discover the problem: I had washed the tank with soap, an absolute no-no. My uninformed efforts had destroyed the very lives I was trying to protect. Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use "killer soaps"--condemnation, criticism, nagging, fits of temper. We think we're doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.

Richard L. Dunagin.

 

MEEKNESS

According to Bill Farmer's newspaper column, J. Upton Dickson was a fun-loving fellow who said he was writing a book entitled Cower Power. He also founded a group of submissive people. It was called DOORMATS. That stands for "Dependent Organization Of Really Meek And Timid Souls -- if there are no objections." Their motto was: "The meek shall inherit the earth -- if that's okay with everybody." They symbol was the yellow traffic light.

Our Daily Bread.


The meek are those who know themselves to be poor in spirit, who have learned, honestly and from their hearts, to regret all the dehumanizing and subhuman things in which they have been involved as wanderers in this lost world, and who now in humility want only the will of God. "Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth" (Num. 12:3). His meekness was shown in his acceptance of what God ordained, including endless battles with those recalcitrant and disappointing people whom he was trying to lead from Egypt to Canaan, including, even, the enormous disappointment of himself not getting into the Promised land.

Moses was a man with a fierce temper -- it was this which had betrayed him during the time in the wilderness -- but when God said, in effect, "Now look, Moses, in order to teach the whole world how much loss sin can bring, I'm not going to let you enter the land; the people will go in, but you won't," he did not curse God in furious protest; quietly, if sadly, he accepted God's decision. That's meekness. Meekness, for a child of God, means accepting uncomplainingly what comes, knowing that it comes from the hand of God who orders all things. What he sends, we accept in faith even if it hurts, knowing that it's for our and others' good.

Those who are meek -- that is, prepared to forego their rights in this world, if that's what God requires of them -- will inherit the earth: they will be made infinitely rich in the future. I think Jesus was referring to the riches of heaven more than to earthly blessings when he spoke, echoing Psalm 37:11, of inheriting the earth. Mercies promised in earthly forms in the Old Testament regularly turn out to have celestial content in the New. 

James Packer, Your Father Loves You,  Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.


According to Bill Farmer's newspaper column, J. Upton Dickson was a fun-loving fellow who said he was writing a book entitled Cower Power. He also founded a group of submissive people. It was called DOORMATS. That stands for "Dependent Organization of Really Meek And Timid Souls -- if there are no objections." Their motto was: "The meek shall inherit the earth -- if that's okay with everybody." They symbol was the yellow traffic light.

Mr. Dickson sounds like he'd be a lot of fun, doesn't he? What is disturbing about all of this, though, is that many people assume that the ridiculous ideas behind DOORMATS and Cower Power represent the quality of meekness set forth in Matthew 5:5. Many, even in the church, think that to be meek is to be weak. But the opposite is true. What the Bible is talking about is a powerful virtue. The slogan "strong enough to be gentle" comes close to defining it. True meekness is best seen in Christ. He was submissive, never resisting or disputing the will of God. His absolute trust in the Father enabled Him to show compassion, courage, and self-sacrifice even in the most hostile situation.

Now let's apply this to ourselves. When we are meek, we will bear insults without lashing out in proud resentment or retaliation. We'll thank God in every circumstance, while using every circumstance, good or bad, as an occasion to submit to Him. Meekness would be weakness if it meant yielding to sin. But because it stems from goodness and godliness, it is a great strength.  

Daily Bread.


A.W. Tozer once wrote, The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto." 

Today in the Word, September, 1989, p. 19.

 
The Fruit Of The Spirit - Gentleness
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. The eighth quality which serves to constitute the fruit of the 
   Spirit is "gentleness" ("meekness" in the KJV)
   a. The Greek word is prautes {prah-ot'-ace}
   b. This is a difficult word to define, for there really is no 
      English word that corresponds to the Greek
   c. Also, while "meekness" is a good attempt to translate the word...
      1) There is a common misconception about the meaning of 
         "meekness" itself
      2) It is often used to suggest a form of cowardice and weakness,
         but there is no such idea in the Greek word "prautes"
 
2. The purpose of this lesson will be...
   a. To define the proper meaning of "gentleness" ("meekness") as used
      in Ga 5:23
   b. To consider the place this virtue is to have in lives of 
      Christians
 
[We begin, then, with...]
 
I. DEFINING "PRAUTES" (GENTLENESS, MEEKNESS)
 
   A. PRAUTES AS DEFINED BY THE ANCIENT GREEKS...
      1. To describe persons or things which have in them a certain
         soothing quality...
         -- E.g, having a humble and kind demeanor which calms 
            another's anger
      2. To describe gentleness of conduct, especially on the part of
         people who had it in their power to act otherwise...
         a. E.g., a king forgiving a servant who failed a particular
            task
            1) The king has the authority and power to render
               punishment
            2) But chooses instead to show kindness and forgiveness
         b. Such a king would be praised for his gentle and meek
            behavior
      3. To describe the ability to take unkind remarks with good
         nature...
         a. E.g., as when embroiled in controversy
         b. Being able to discuss things without losing one's temper
            because of unkind and unfair personal remarks
      4. Most often, to describe the character in which strength and
         gentleness are perfectly combined...
         a. E.g., a horse obedient to the reins, a watchdog friendly to
            the family owning him
         b. There is great strength present, but it is tempered by a
            gentle spirit
      5. Aristotle had this to say about "prautes"...
         a. "the ability to bear reproaches and slights with 
            moderation, and not to embark on revenge quickly, and not
            to be easily provoked to anger, but to be free from
            bitterness and contentiousness, having tranquillity and
            stability in the spirit." (On Virtues And Vices)
         b. This does not imply that there is never a place for anger
            in the gentle man
         c. Indeed, the man who displays "prautes" is angry "on the
            right grounds, and against the right persons, and in the
            right manner, and at the right moment, and for the right
            length of time." (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics)
         d. "he will err on the side of forgiveness rather than on the
            side of anger" (Barclay)
 
   B. PRAUTES AS EXEMPLIFIED BY MOSES AND JESUS...
      1. The example of Moses - cf. Nu 12:3
         a. Though as God's chosen servant he could have rebuked Aaron
            and Miriam, he humbly kept silent - e.g., Nu 13:1-8
         b. His silence was not from personal weakness, however, for
            consider...
            1) His reaction to the golden calf - Ex 32:19-20,25-28
            2) His pleading with God - Ex 32:30-32
            -- Indeed, Moses was no spineless coward
         c. Rather, his meekness was the result of a humble opinion of
            himself!
      2. The example of Jesus - cf. Mt 11:28-30
         a. Notice His meekness at His trial - Mt 27:12-14; cf. Is 53:7
         b. But it was not due to lack of strength...
            1) His powerful strength had already been demonstrated:
               a) In denouncing the Pharisees - Mt 23:13ff
               b) In purging the temple - Jn 2:14-17
            2) His meekness at the trial was evidence of strength, not
               weakness!
 
[Gentleness (or meekness, KJV), then, is that virtuous quality by 
which...
 
"we treat all men with perfect courtesy, that we can rebuke without
rancor, that we can argue without intolerance, that we can face the
truth without resentment, that we can be angry and sin not, that we
can be gentle and yet not weak." (Barclay)
 
Again, this quality comes from having a humble opinion of one's self,
along with the inner strength to control one's emotions, tongue, and
behavior.  Now let's consider...]
 
II. THE PLACE OF GENTLENESS IN THE LIVES OF CHRISTIANS
 
   A. IN PARTICULAR...
      1. We are to receive the Word of God with meekness (prautes) 
         - Ja 1:21
      2. We must approach brethren in error with a spirit of gentleness
         (prautes) - Ga 6:1
      3. We must correct those in opposition with humility (prautes) 
         - 2 Ti 2:24-25
      4. We are to answer inquiries concerning our hope with meekness
         (prautes) - 1 Pe 3:15
 
   B. IN GENERAL...
      1. Meekness (prautes) is necessary for the Christian man who 
         would be wise - cf. Ja 3:13-18
      2. Meekness (prautes) is necessary for the Christian woman who
         would be precious in the sight of God - 1 Pe 3:1-6
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. One who is walking by the Spirit is going to be a gentle person,
   even in the most trying circumstances...
   a. Not because of weakness or cowardice
   b. But because of humility, coupled with the inner strength to
      control one's behavior
 
2. Such was the case with our Lord, who at all times demonstrated what
   it means to be "gentle and lowly at heart" - cf. Mt 11:29
   a. Let those who claim to be Jesus' disciples seek to emulate His
      example
   b. Let there be found in us that "fruit of the Spirit" which was
      found in our Lord as well!
 
3. And for any who may not yet be a disciple of Jesus, I encourage you
   to reflect on the words of Him who was "gentle and lowly in 
   heart"...
 
   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give
   you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle
   and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My
   yoke is easy and My burden is light." - Mt 11:28-30
 
In the expressions of His day, the metaphor of the "yoke" refers to 
becoming His disciple.  To learn what is involved in becoming a 
disciple, consider the words of Jesus in Mt 28:18-20...

 

--《Executable Outlines