The Bible is often seen as a book full of powerful and dramatic stories, but did you know that it also contains many examples of gentleness and compassion? In this article, we will delve into ten beautiful examples of gentleness in the Bible. From Jesus’ invitation to the weary to Stephen’s extraordinary response to persecution, these stories showcase the power of gentleness and its ability to transform lives. So, if you’re looking for examples of gentleness in the Bible, look no further.
Jesus Inviting the Weary (Matthew 11:28-30)
Are you tired, worn out, and weighed down by the burdens of life? Jesus offers an invitation to you in Matthew 11:28-30, where He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus extends a gentle and humble invitation to those who are struggling, promising rest and relief from life’s difficulties. He welcomes all who are weary, regardless of their circumstance, and offers them comfort and peace.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
David’s Gentleness with Saul (1 Samuel 24; 26)
David was anointed by God to be the next king of Israel, but he did not allow this to interfere with his respect for the current king, Saul. In 1 Samuel 24 and 26, David had two opportunities to kill Saul but chose to spare him instead.
Despite Saul’s relentless pursuit to kill David, David chose to show gentleness and mercy towards his enemy. In 1 Samuel 24, David and his men found Saul lying asleep in a cave. Instead of killing him, David cut off a corner of Saul’s robe and spared his life. In 1 Samuel 26, David again had the opportunity to take Saul’s life but instead, he took Saul’s spear and water jug while he slept and showed him mercy.
“May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.” – David to Saul (1 Samuel 24:12)
David’s gentleness with Saul is a powerful example of how we should treat even our enemies with kindness and mercy. It is a testament to David’s faith in God’s sovereignty and justice.
Boaz’s Kindness to Ruth (Ruth 2)
Amidst hardship and uncertainty, Boaz extends a heartfelt display of gentleness towards Ruth, a foreign widow. Ruth, having lost her husband, is left to glean in Boaz’s fields, gathering what is left behind to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. Witness Boaz’s compassion as he ensures Ruth’s safety and meets her needs with kindness.
Boaz takes notice of Ruth and inquires about her. Learning of her situation, he tells her to glean only in his fields where she will be safe and where he’ll additionally instruct his young men to allow her to gather more than just the leftovers, commenting “When you are thirsty, go to the jars and drink what the young men have drawn”(Ruth 2:9). Boaz continues his kindness, providing Ruth with a meal ensuring she is well-fed and encouraging her to keep returning to his fields to glean.
Boaz’s actions towards Ruth are a beautiful display of care and gentleness. He shows his kindness by providing for her needs and ensuring that she is safe in a time when hardship surrounds her. As a foreigner, Ruth could have potentially been treated harshly, but Boaz embraced her and demonstrated true compassion and love.
Joseph’s Treatment of His Brothers (Genesis 45)
When Joseph’s brothers arrive in Egypt, they do not recognize him, but he immediately recognizes them. Rather than seek revenge for their past mistreatment of him, Joseph shows them incredible gentleness and compassion. After revealing his true identity, he says to them:
“Come close to me…I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years, there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
Joseph offers reassurance and forgiveness to his brothers, removing any fear they may have had concerning the consequences of their actions. He also provides for their families, giving them food, clothes, and land to sustain them through the famine. His gentle reunion with his brothers is a beautiful example of how God can use even the most difficult circumstances for His purposes, and how we can extend forgiveness and love to those who have wronged us.
Moses’ Meekness (Numbers 12:3)
As a leader, it can be easy to fall into the trap of exercising power and authority with a heavy hand. However, Moses’ meekness stands out as a shining example of the power of gentleness in leadership. In Numbers 12:3, it is written that Moses was “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” This humility and gentleness allowed Moses to lead the Israelites with wisdom and care, displaying a deep concern for their well-being and spiritual growth.
Moses’ meekness and gentleness can be seen in several instances throughout the Bible, including his interactions with Pharaoh and his own siblings. Rather than resorting to violence or aggression, Moses displayed patience and a willingness to listen and understand the perspectives of others. This allowed him to effectively communicate God’s message and lead the Israelites towards their promised land.
While gentleness in leadership may not always be the easiest path to take, Moses’ example shows that it can lead to powerful results. By prioritizing the needs and well-being of those he led, Moses was able to lead with integrity and bring about significant change.
Paul’s Approach to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:7)
Paul’s approach to caring for the Thessalonians serves as a beautiful example of nurturing love and gentleness. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul describes his approach, saying, “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7, ESV).
This metaphor of gentle nurturing, comparing Paul’s care to that of a nursing mother, powerfully conveys the tenderness he showed to the Thessalonians. As a mother cares for her child, so too did Paul show compassion towards those he was called to minister to, going out of his way to meet their needs and comfort them in times of trouble.
As Paul writes in the following verses, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8, ESV).
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:7, ESV
The Fruit of the Spirit
As a Christian, it is important to strive towards exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in your daily life. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.
Out of all of the fruit, gentleness is a particularly important characteristic to cultivate. To lead a life guided by the Holy Spirit, gentleness should be at the forefront of our interactions with others. It means being empathetic, patient, and kind towards others, even in difficult circumstances.
The Importance of Cultivating Gentleness
Gentleness is a powerful tool in building relationships and showing love to those around us. It is a reflection of the love and compassion that God has for us. In fact, Jesus himself displayed gentleness and tenderness with those who were hurting, lost, and broken.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29
By constantly seeking to cultivate gentleness, we become more in tune with the needs and struggles of those around us, and can provide genuine support and comfort to those who need it most.
The Benefits of Gentleness
Practicing gentleness leads to better relationships, emotional intelligence, and stronger connections with others. It also has the power to diffuse tense situations and build bridges between people who may have previously been at odds.
Ultimately, cultivating gentleness leads to a life that more fully reflects the love, compassion, and grace that God has for us as His children. It is a beautiful and powerful characteristic to embody, and one that can have a profound impact on the world around us.
Elijah and the Still Small Voice (1 Kings 19:11-13)
In 1 Kings 19:11-13, Elijah experiences a powerful demonstration of God’s gentleness. After defeating the prophets of Baal and fleeing from Jezebel’s wrath, Elijah finds himself in a cave on Mount Horeb. There, he encounters the Lord in an unexpected way:
“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
God speaks to Elijah not through the powerful forces of nature, but in a gentle whisper. This moment showcases the power of divine communication in gentle forms, demonstrating that God does not have to be loud or forceful to get His message across.
This moment of gentleness and quiet communication encourages us to listen carefully for God’s still, small voice in our own lives, and to trust that even the gentlest of whispers can carry great power and meaning.
Jesus Blessing the Children (Mark 10:13-16)
Jesus had a heart for children, and His gentleness and kindness towards them is clearly displayed in the Bible. In Mark 10:13-16, “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
Jesus’ gentle invitation to the children is a beautiful reminder of His love and compassion. He doesn’t exclude anyone, but instead, brings all people close to Him, especially little children. It’s an example of childlike faith, which is characterized by innocence, trust, and humility. Jesus’ blessing emphasizes the value and worth of children, showing that they are just as important as adults in God’s eyes.
The image above captures the tenderness and love that Jesus demonstrated towards the children. It reminds us of the importance of being gentle and kind to those around us, especially to the little ones. Let us follow Jesus’ example of gentleness and extend a hand of love and compassion to all people, young and old.
How Does Gentleness in Scripture Relate to the Power of Prayer in Action?
Stephen’s Response to Persecution
Stephen’s story in Acts 7:54-60 is a powerful example of gentleness and forgiveness. Despite being stoned to death by his persecutors, Stephen’s final act was to pray for them. He asked God to forgive them for what they had done, displaying remarkable compassion and love towards those who had harmed him.
Through Stephen’s response, we are reminded that even in the face of persecution and suffering, we are called to extend grace and forgiveness. It can be difficult to pray for those who have hurt us, but Stephen’s example shows us that it is possible, and that it can lead to true healing and reconciliation.
As you face your own struggles and hardships, may Stephen’s final act of gentleness inspire you to show kindness and compassion towards those who have wronged you. Let us follow his example and pray for our persecutors, choosing forgiveness over bitterness and hatred.
Remember, as Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). May we all strive to show mercy and gentleness towards others, just as Stephen did in his final moments.