Harshness destroys relationships, but gentleness restores them. Jesus taught: “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 NASB). When leaders surrender to power under the Spirit’s control, they experience the blessings of God three-dimensionally.
First, gentleness restores our relationship with God. Jesus said that His gentleness restores our souls (see Matthew 11:29). James, the brother of Jesus and the pastor of the New Testament church in Jerusalem, said that we should humbly, or gently, receive the word of God planted in our hearts that saves and restores us with God (James 1:21).
Are you harsh with God in any area of your life? Maybe He didn’t heal someone in the way or with the timing that you saw fit. Perhaps He has allowed suffering in your life that you deem unreasonable. Possibly, you don’t have the career, spouse, or children that you thought He should give you. Whatever that harshness against God might be, surrender it to Him today. Say, “I can’t. You can. I can’t satisfy my desires through harshness toward You, but You can satisfy my desires when I surrender my harshness to you.”
Second, gentleness restores our relationships with others. Jesus said that our words flow from our hearts (see Luke 6:45). When our hearts are harsh, our words are like swords. When we are gentle in heart, our words are powerful under the Spirit’s control. Solomon taught: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
Are you harsh with your words in any relationships? Do you find yourself being harshest with those closest to you? Try surrendering your harshness for gentleness with your heart and subsequently your words. You will find restoration in your relationships with others.
Third, gentleness restores others’ relationships with God. This applies to both the surrendered and the un-surrendered. Paul taught when the surrendered are caught in sin, we should restore them gently, realizing that we could be tempted as well (see Galatians 6:1). Peter instructed us to answer the un-surrendered gently with the reason for the hope that we have in Christ (see 1 Peter 3:15).
With whom are you harsh because of their un-restored relationship with God? It might be the self-righteous, the licentious, conservatives, liberals, addicts, or a different generation. Are you willing to surrender that harshness to God and them, experiencing gentleness in heart and the inheritance of God’s blessings?
When we surrender our harshness to God, in exchange for the Holy Spirit’s gentleness, He renews our connection with Him, with those we encounter, and with their bond to Christ.