Fruit: Gentleness and Goodness

Fruit: Gentleness,Goodness

This morning we are going to talk about two more fruits of the Spirit: Gentleness and Goodness. Galatians 5:22-23 (I hope you have it memorized by now) says:

”And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.”

We’ve come to gentleness this morning, and we are going to cover goodness at the same time, because they go together.

Our society doesn’t value gentleness. I think the last election is about as good an illustration of that as you can find. Whatever you think of President Trump and the job he’s doing. We literally elected the least gentle person we could find.

I was watching a video the other day, an interview between a writer I like to watch and a BBC journalist and it was a thirty minute interview. And literally, for thirty minutes, this ladies teeth were bared and she misinterpreted everything the man said, on purpose, to be provocative over and over and over again. It was ugly.

The truth is, we see this everywhere. You see it on Facebook and Twitter. You see it on the evening news. You might even hear it at family get togethers. There is this willingness to be ugly and to treat people as less than people to prove a point or to win some kind of imaginary contest.

And I want to submit to you that that spirit. That contentious spirit is the exact opposite of the fruits of the spirit. In fact, if you look up in Galatians a couple of verses at the “works of the flesh” you’ll see that a bunch of them ”variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies” - those are all basically being a jerk and fighting with people. Those are all contentiousness.

And we as believers, if we are walking in the spirit and letting the Holy Spirit do His thing in us, we should be the opposite of that, we should be gentle and good.

By the way, goodness in Galatians 5:22 is a synonym for kindness. The same word is translated “kindness” many times in our King James Bible.

God expects you to grow ever more gentle and kind. So let’s pray this morning and we are going to do a bit of a Bible study this morning on kindness.


I want to approach this message a little bit different. Rather than just talk about gentleness and goodness or kindness this morning, I want to show you examples of these traits. We are going to look at three negative examples and three positive examples, then we’ll sort of wrap it up by looking inward at our own life.

Let’s start with:

Two Negative Examples


The first negative example I want to show you is in the Old Testament. In the book of 1 Samuel. So go ahead and turn there. I want to introduce you to a character this morning who sort of shines in the Old Testament as someone who wasn’t gentle and good. His name is Nabal. You read about Nabal in 1 Samuel 25.

David is on the run here, he is in the wilderness and they need food. So they go to ask this rich guy near them named Nabal for some food. Notice what it says about Nabal in verse 3:

”Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife was Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and a of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.”

So what do we know about Nabal?

  1. the man had a good wife. In fact, that’s the best thing he has going for him and it saves his life if you read the whole story.
  2. Nabal had a good heritage. He was the great, great, great grandson of Caleb.
  3. Nabal was a jerk.

And he acts like a total jerk in this story. David’s men come to him desperate looking for food and water and look at Nabal’s answer in verse 10:

”And Nabal answered David’s Servants and said Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There be many servants no a days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?”

He was a jerk. He didn’t just say “No” he said it as emphatically and hurtfully as he could. In fact, look how the servants describe Nabal in verse 17, They say “He is such a son of Belial that a man cannot speak to him.”

David’s first reaction was to wipe him out and he probably would have if it wasn’t for his wife Abigail secretly trying to make amends for her husband and making peace.

So Nabal. Nabal is pretty much the opposite of gentleness, wouldn’t you say. But do you know, I know some Nabals. I know a lot of people who claim to be Christians who treat people like Nabal treated people. They think that they have been given some kind of pass to be rough with people.

Look, you don’t get a pass to be a jerk. Ever. You don’t get a pass to treat people like dirt. You don’t get a pass to be rough with people. I don’t care if you are in the hospital. I don’t care if you just had an accident. I don’t care if you have a headache or you aren’t feeling well. I don’t care if your supposed rights are being trampled on. We are called to be gentle and good.

So that’s the first negative example. I think a second negative example is:


Hopefully you know the story of Esther. It’s a great story. Esther is this Jewish refugee girl living in Persia who becomes queen of Persia by winning a beauty contest. True story. But the real stars of the book of Esther are actually a bad guy named Haman and Esther’s uncle Mordecai.

Haman does something for the King and in return is given a special position and everyone has to bow down to him. Well the Jews didn’t bow down to anyone - they got a pass. And the Haman has all the wealth and power and prestige a person could want - but he meets this one Jew who won’t bow to him and he just goes bezerk and determines that he is going to get the man killed and kill all of the Jews.

Think about this - here is a man with everything a man could want. He was one of the most powerful and wealthy and prestigious people in the world, yet he comes completely unglued by one person who refuses to bow to him.

I remember when I worked for a camp one summer and we hosted a pastor’s conference. I had just graduated from college and was about to go be a school teacher. We were greeting these pastors who were coming in from out of state for this conference and I recognized one of them and was holding the door for him and I said “It’s so good to see you brother so and so” and he stopped in his tracks, looked at me and said “It’s pastor so and so.”

I thought really?? What a jerk! You aren’t my pastor. But I said “I’m sorry Pastor so and so” and then never spoke to him again.

Haman - don’t be a Nabal, don’t be a Haman. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t demand people cow to your ego. Don’t run roughshod over people. Don’t take joy in dressing people down and chewing people up. It’s not right, like ever. Don’t do it.

So there are two negative examples, let’s look at some positive examples.

Two Positive Examples:


Take your Bible’s with me and turn to the book of Ruth. Ruth chapter 2.

You know the story of Ruth, she is a woman from Moab, that married a jew. And her husband dies and her father in law dies and she decides to stick with her mother and law and go back to Israel with her. And they are destitute. They are beggars. They are reduced to going through the fields and harvesting what the reapers leave behind.

So by providence Ruth ends up in this guy named Boaz’s field. And Boaz is just a gem. Look at chapter 2:4. Look at how this guy treats his employees:

”And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.”

How would you like to start every day with a boss like that? But look at how Boaz treats Ruth in verses 8-9. He sees this refugee girl, this immigrant girl in his field and look at how he talks to her:

”[Rth 2:8-9 KJV] 8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: 9 [Let] thine eyes [be] on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of [that] which the young men have drawn.”

He could have viewed Ruth as a nuisance, He could have viewed her as a beggar, as scum. He could have said “It serves Naomi right for leaving Israel in the first place.” I’m sure many land owners would have driven someone like Ruth off or tried to take advantage of her - but Boaz does the opposite - he shows her kindness and goodness. He treats her with such amazing gentleness.

And do you know what - not only is Boaz one of the great-grandfathers of Christ - He was also a picture of Christ - He was the kinsman redeemer.

That leads me to my second positive example of kindness. Probably THE positive example of kindness and that is Jesus.


I want you to turn with me to the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Chapter 42. We are going to read verses 1:4. Isaiah 42:1-4:

”1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, [in whom] my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law."

Obviously, this is talking about Jesus. In fact, the book of Matthew tells us explicitly that Jesus was the fulfillment of this prophecy. But I want you to notice how it describes Jesus. It says in verse 2:

”He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard.”

What does that mean? It means he won’t be a bully. He won’t be a loudmouth. He won’t be someone who makes himself the center of attention.

Look at the next verse - this one is more familiar:

”3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”

A reed is a really fragile plant. If you have a reed and it’s bruised, it will just fall apart. You have to be really gentle with a bruised reed or it will snap.

A flax was used to start a fire. It was basically like a match, but it only smoked, and it was really easy to put out. If you wanted to fan it into flames, you had to be careful and gentle with it and blow on it.

So you take these two verses and what do they say about the character of Jesus? He was gentle. He wasn’t self-assertive. He wasn’t a loudmouth. He wasn’t the kind of person who rode roughshod over people. He was kind. He didn’t throw people away.

And you see that in his life and ministry don’t you? You see that in the way that he dealt with people. You see that in the way he handled his disciples. He asked probing questions and He definitely would stand for what is right, but Jesus was never a jerk about it.

Think about this - Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s the person it’s all about. He is the center of everything. Yet, he came to this earth in the humblest way possible and he lived out his life in complete humility. He didn’t present himself on a white horse - a battle steed, He presented himself on a donkey, the symbol of peace. He was gentle. He was the very example of gentleness.

And we are to be little Christs. I wonder - do people see you as more of a Nabal character or a Boaz character? Are you more like Haman or more like Jesus?

How about in your home? How about the way you talk to your wife or to your husband? How about in your workplace? How about the way you talk to the people who work under you or to your coworkers?

Do people see Jesus in you?

Well, you might say “Well, I’m just harsh by nature. It was the way I was raised see. I can’t help myself. I’m from a different generation - I’m not some softy snowflake.” You might say all kinds of things and to answer that I want us to look at…

One more negative and positive example:


Let me give you one more negative example. This one is in the New Testament. You see him in the book of Acts. Look at Acts 7:58:

”And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.”

There is this guy in the beginning of the book of Acts names Saul or Tarsus who was absolutely obsessed with destroying people. You see him here. You see him in chapter 8 verse 3 where is says:

”As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”

In chapter 9:1 it says:

”And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,”

Saul of Tarsus was anything but kind and anything but gentle. He was a monster. He was obsessed with destroying people. He was even willing to go on the witness stand and lie through his teeth if it meant that his enemies - those dastardly Christians - would be destroyed.

But something happened to Saul. Saul met Jesus and Jesus changed Saul.

Listen, Saul was such a terror that after he was saved, no one wanted to come and see him. No one wanted him in their church services. It took another gentle guy named Barnabas to bring Saul into the fold.

But Saul of Tarsus was anything but gentle and kind.

But when the Holy Spirit moved into Saul’s life, Saul changed. And when Saul changed he went from this hard scrabble, foaming at the mouth, hateful guy to someone who was gentle.

It’s amazing how much Paul talks about being gentle. He describes his ministry as gentle. He says in 1 Thess. 2:7:

”But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:”

He tells pastors that they can’t be contentious but must be gentle:

”And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,” (2 Tim. 2:24)

In Titus he tells pastors that one of our responsibilities is to remind you to be gentle:

”[Tit 3:1-2 KJV] 1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”

He reminds us that when we go after a brother or sister who has fallen into sin, we are to do it with gentleness in Galatians 6:1. And he even says in Philippians 4:5

”Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

That word “moderation” is a synonym of Gentle. In fact the word is translated “gentle” three times in the King James.


So let’s do some soul-searching:

Are you gentle?

  • This doesn’t have anything to do with your nature or your personality or your upbringing.
  • This may not be a quality that is sought after in the world, but it is a quality that is demanded in scripture.