By most accounts, life is extremely busy for most of us. Productivity is the bottom line. Stress, financial concerns, work output, and "making things happen" push us to "cut through the fat" and to "get the work out." Being rude, untactful, "brutally honest," and harsh become virtues that need no apology if they help to get done what needs to be done. Courtesy, affability, and tenderness are shoved aside for traits that get more immediate results. In this environment, gentleness has become the forgotten virtue. In fact, gently dealing with situations and people are often judged as being weak, or unwilling to confront difficult circumstances and people.

One of the challenges of being the people of God in a rude and harsh world is to reflect the character of our God, who with strength confronts sin while dealing with us sinners with gentleness and grace. Yes, there is a time when God's patience is exhausted and he deals harshly with sinners. Most of the time, however, God repeatedly and gently extends his grace to redeem and save. His goal is to transform us and make us holy, not shame, blame, and condemn us. His desire is to comfort us and to restore us, not to push us away or to shove us aside so he can spend time with more productive creatures.

God calls us to reflect this holy character in our daily lives regardless of the decadence or harshness of the culture around us (1 Peter 1:15-16). God wants us to be fruitful and productive in our holiness (2 Peter 1:8). Part of that productivity and character, however, is dealing with each other with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15), showing family kindness and love (2 Peter 1:6-8).

Don't forget to clothe yourself with gentleness.
Gentleness is a mark of the Spirit's work in our lives ... Gently dealing with those who are broken is a trait of God himself, as he gently deals with his people who are most vulnerable gently and tenderly (Isaiah 40:11). Gentleness is a mark of the Spirit's work in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23) and a trait we should display in our dealings with all people because of the Lord's presence in our lives (Philippians 4:25). As God's chosen people who have been loved by the Creator of the universe and graced with his mercy and kindness, we are to clothe ourselves with gentleness in our dealings with others (Colossians 3:12). As we flee from evil, we are to pursue gentleness as we seek to live godly lives (1 Timothy 6:11). As we deal with brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone astray, gotten caught in sin, or oppose the truth, we are to reach out to them with gentleness instead of harsh judgment or self-righteous superiority (Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:25; cf. Hebrews 5:2). Gentleness is especially needed as we seek to share our hope in Christ with those who do not yet know him as Lord (1 Peter 3:15). While gentleness may not be in vogue in today's world, it is demanded of us as we seek to reflect the holiness of our eternal God.

So as you dress yourself each day, don't forget to clothe yourself with gentleness. As you pray for the lost and the words you will use to share Christ with them, don't forget to ask God to fill you with wisdom and gentleness as you deal with them. As you face harsh and unfair criticism and opposition, don't forget to respond with a strong resolve to be holy and gentle before those who align themselves against you and the work of the Lord.