22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. (NRSV)
Several times each month I get to eat lunch with a group of friends. On Thursdays, I often sit at a table with some folks in the community at a local service club. On Tuesdays, I often break bread with men from our congregation at our church’s Men’s Lunch. I have been at this routine for over a decade now (closer to two decades), and what I have been treated to is a study in gentleness.
Many of the people I dine with are men, and over the years at these two weekly dining events, I have been in the presence of real gentlemen. I have often left these lunch meetings better off because I had spent an hour listening to conversations that were spiritual, reflective, respectful, and insightful. Many of the men I often encounter at these meeting are people of depth, compassion, and integrity. When I think about some of these men who have graced my life, they are gentlemen. Upon the passing of one of these men not long ago, another person (a woman) who sometimes shares the table at my Thursday gathering, commented that our friend was a gentle man.
Gentleness is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. As I have observed this fruit in people around me, it is a peaceful presence that is undergirded by all those wonderful qualities that I have already mentioned. I sometimes wonder if I would be described as a gentle man, and how that gentleness can be nurtured in my life.
God, soften my heart with Your word so that my Spirit may embody the gentleness that brings peace and blessings to all whom I encounter today. I ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen