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Read: Galatians 5:19-23

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

We live in a face-paced world; communication is a “24/7/365” phenomenon. The “20-somethings” have grown up texting, so abbreviations rule (LOL). There are many great things about modern communications but there are some definite drawbacks too. So much of human communication (65-70%) is non-verbal. I read an article that said the use of a period at the end of a sentence is now often interpreted as a harsh ending to a statement, as in “period –end of discussion”. So there are new challenges to human communications that don’t have to do with “24/7” availability. It is also a challenge to the nature of gentleness.

Gentleness is about presence and patience, it is not rushed. Gentleness thrives with connection, and that is a hands on, eye-to-eye, and heart-to-heart communication. That’s where gentleness proves its strength. It’s a bit of a recap, but Paul affirms the “fruit of the Spirit” in contrast to the coarser, mean ways of the world. The Christians in the Galatia region were fighting and divided, and all that comes with that. Paul calls them back to the fruit of our faith, to the fruit of the Spirit – as a guide for character and attitude.

We cannot create or advance the Kingdom of Christ using the ways of the world. It is reminiscent of Jesus’ words that “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). People sometimes misconceive of meekness being weakness, but meekness, along with gentleness are not a sign of weakness, but of strength. I think of this quote from a Leo Rosten novel: ““I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.”

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom