An autistic person’s guide to the fruit of the Spirit
Part 8: Gentleness or meekness
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The fruit of the Spirit is a non-exhaustive list of attributes of the Godhead. So if gentleness, meekness in older translations of the Bible, is a fruit of the Spirit you should expect that to be an attribute of Jesus too. Jesus said, “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.” Jesus was gentle, it was part of him, not some of the time but all of the time. Gentle is not something Jesus did, Gentle was his nature. Jesus was gentle all the time. Consider this:
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
Mark 11:15-17 ESV
Was Jesus being gentle? Yes of course he was, the question here is who was he being gentle with. Also consider this, which is typical of the whole chapter:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”
Another example of Jesus’ gentleness. Really. But Jesus was not being gentle to the Temple market traders or to the Pharisees. Jesus was being gentle to their victims. The other nations, the Gentiles, were prevented from worshipping in the Temple because the court of the Gentiles was occupied by a market. The Pharisees strict rules were preventing people from getting to God.
Jesus was strong. We make a mistake if we think gentle means wishy-washy and meek means weak. Which is why I chose a photo of a lion with its cub, gentleness in strength. If I were in a burning building I would hope that the firefighter who helped me would have large muscular arms thicker than my legs so that he could gently carry me out without stumbling. Gentleness is not a lack of strength.
God is more than just strong, God is all-powerful. Jesus modelled God’s gentleness by becoming vulnerable for the sake of the vulnerable. Vulnerability is something we should model, but that does not make us weak, God’s Spirit inside us makes us strong.
Nothing on autism this week, next Friday’s blog on self-control will have something that covers gentleness as well.
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