What to Wear as a Child of God: Gentleness

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience….(Colossians 3:12)

I have six amazing grandboys. One is brand new, so I can’t speak for him yet. But the others—they love to wrestle, roughhouse, wield swords. It is normal to see three brothers tangled together, sometimes laughing, but often crying out that an arm is about to break.

I know girls who will gladly join in, but usually they are not as fierce or intense. Some would say that girls are just more naturally gentle and that we can’t expect gentleness to characterize boys and men. They need to be tough.

Yet Paul reminds us that all followers of Jesus are to put on gentleness. Boys and girls, men and women—all are admonished to be gentle.

How do we become gentle? By learning from the tough but gentle Jesus Himself.


"Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’…

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." (Matthew (:13-14; Mark 10:16)

Illness and invalid

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’” (Luke 8:47-48)

One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’“

’Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” (John 5:4-9)

 Sinful Woman

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’…

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

“’No one, sir,’ she said.“’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8:3-11)

Blind Man and Leper

“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?

He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8:22-25)

“And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2-3)

Gentleness Modeled

Jesus welcomed children, spoke gently to women in pain, touched lepers, healed the blind, fed the hungry. He loved people, felt compassion for them and treated them with great gentleness.

Yet, surely Jesus was tough. He stepped out of Heaven to become human like us. He stood up to the Pharisees, accepted flogging and a crown of thorns, endured the cross. The greatest model of tough.

And the greatest model of gentle.

For which I am very grateful.

In my younger years, rarely would “gentle” be a word used to describe me. As I read many times the verse above, admonishing me to “put on gentleness,” I frequently asked God to change me into a gentle person.

He worked slowly and quietly, and one day years later I realized He had done just that. Not perfect gentleness of course, but increasingly I recognized a gentle demeanor in most of my relationships.

Thank You, Lord.

What about you? Do you wear gentleness consistently?

C2016 Judy Douglass

Related posts:

What to Wear: Compassion

What to Wear: Kindness

What to Wear: Humility