Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Fruits of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-24)

Gentleness - or prautēs in Greek - is a word with hidden depths! Here is the definition: “the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance”. Gentleness might be seen as the opposite of arrogance. It is realising your limitations, and not taking yourself too seriously. It is allowing others to be as important as you are.

In a world which cries out “express yourself” and “assert your rights” this might be seen as somewhat counter-cultural. The world - in the end - does not revolve around you. Rather than being the centre of the universe you are simply one more being sitting on one more planet circling one more sun on the edge of one more galaxy. We live in relationship with others, and we therefore need to take our place beside others and not try and lord it over them.

To be gentle, is to be humble and considerate. It is to show courtesy and thoughtfulness. It is to resist the temptation to assert yourself in a given situation, and even to admit you are wrong. Yes, even you!

It is only when we realise that we, like all others, are flawed individuals that we can gain a true perspective on ourselves. It is as we acknowledge we get things wrong, we are ready to learn and to seek forgiveness. Gentleness is not weakness. It is simply being realistic.


Self-control is the ability to restrain your emotions. To say no to impulses or desires as they begin to rise. It is putting your head in charge of your heart, and detecting your emotions. Are they legitimate, or something you’ll regret in ten minutes time? Is this really the best way to behave? Shouldn’t this temptation be resisted? It is a product of patience and an abiding joy in life. It is a quality of someone who is kind and good, who is trustworthy and doesn’t think too highly of themself.

What is Providence?

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17) - Providence is not a word much used in Christian speech. Whilst a very common concept in the writings of previous ages, for whatever reason it has faded from much of the modern church. Providence is more than mere foreknowledge. In Christian terms it is the understanding that God continues to care for his creation and his people. And he cares through providing for it and for us.

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