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Gentleness - Allowing us to demonstrate the gift of mercy.
The situation was tense; on one side was a very angry civilian, on the other side a senior officer with superior firepower behind him. There was shouting; threats and soon the senior officer let his anger get the best of him, forgetting the rules of engagement he spoke and acted unkindly. The civilian reacted with his own angry conduct and the situation boiled over and I (the senior officer) had blown it—I had provoked my son to anger.
So, I had to repent, I went to my son and asked his forgiveness. In my own anger I had caused my son to break the first commandment of Honoring your Mother and father…I had used my own authority in a very un-gentle display of “I’ll show you who’s the boss.” For a moment I had completely disregarded the Father’s SROE for my life.
In the military, Standing Rules of Engagement, SROE for short are directives that define the circumstances and limitations under which U.S. forces initiate and/or continue engagement with belligerent forces, and define when and how force may be used . . . in short, they define the framework for actions and attitude of solders in critical situations.
The Fruits of the Spirit are, I believe, the Father’s Standing Rules of Engagement, they epitomize the way the Father relates to us as His children. One of the greatest characteristics of God is his gentleness; it’s His standard to follow in all situations, especially in the training of our children.
“And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.”
The Greek word for gentleness is praiotes, which came be translated; mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. The trait is not indicative of weakness in any way. This SROE provides strength for handling difficult circumstances, enabling us to be firm, but not callous, candid if necessary, but never ever mean. When we feast on this fruit, its effect is that we can be angry and yet not sin—this juice controls the passionate part of our nature. When we obey this SROE it calms tense times, produces an opportunity for peace to reign in relationship struggles.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath” Proverbs 15:1
And it turns their hearts back towards me when I engage my children in this manner. The result is always a fruitful one, it may take a while to process through but our Father promises to support us and His gentleness towards us makes all the difference.
“You have given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand supports me; your gentleness has made me great.” Psalm 18:35