12/5 With gentleness and respect.

Gentleness. It’s a great way to treat people, and our world could use a bit more gentleness. When the fruit of the Spirit grows in the Church the world is shaped, and lives are touched. The Fruit of the Spirit are not grown solely for the benefit of God’s people, but also for those who have yet called Him Savior.

Peter encouraged the Church to treat everyone with gentleness, especially those who are far from Jesus: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I Peter 3:15

In other words, don’t beat people over the head with the Gospel! Be gentle. Be respectful. Share, but do it carefully. Share, but share with a gentle touch. I heard a story about a missionary that demonstrates a gentle approach in sharing Jesus.

Mrs Alvina Federwitz and her husband Dale were missionaries with Lutheran Bible Translators. They were sent to their first village in Liberia in West Africa to share the Word of God with an unreached people group. Each night they would walk through town to meet the chief of the village they were to enter. Each night they went and got nowhere. For 22 straight nights they went to talk, and for 22 nights they had no success. When they were at the end of their rope on night 23 they talked to the chief who told them that they were being tested the first 22 nights. He wanted to make sure they were really committed before allowing them entrance into their village. Their patient and gentle approach enabled them to build a relationship that helped many people know Jesus over the next 40 some years of work in Liberia.

If they would have forced their way in and bullied the village leaders they would have been rejected and people would not have had the chance to hear of Jesus. Instead, they worked with gentleness and respect and the Word got a hearing for those who needed to hear it most.

You can reach your family and friends with gentleness too. Share Jesus and make an impact for Him.

Lord Jesus, you desire all people to know You as their Savior. Use us to speak your name, and help us do it with gentleness and respect. Amen.

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