Bible Reading: Philippians 4:4-5
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5, NIV
When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23, emphasis added
WHILE VISITING BROOKFLELD Zoo, in Brookfield, Illinois, with his family, a three-year-old boy climbed a railing and lost his balance. He fell eighteen feet into a rocky pit containing several gorillas. The impact of his fall knocked the boy unconscious, and he lay there, at the mercy of the apes.
Now, gorillas can be pretty rough customers-they don’t exactly have a reputation for being particularly gentle. So everyone in the place screamed and ran around, trying to figure out how to prevent the boy from being attacked and mangled, perhaps killed, by the great apes.
Then an amazing thing happened. An eight-year-old female gorilla named Binti Jua, apparently sensing the boy was hurt, went over to the child and gently picked him up. Waving off the other animals, she toted him to the door of the enclosure, where eventually a zookeeper came and retrieved the boy, unharmed.
Binti’s gentle heroism made newspaper and television news headlines for several days. People expressed astonishment. Crowds flocked to the zoo. Television crews from all over the world came to film the gentle gorilla. For a few days she became the most famous gorilla since King Kong.
Later news accounts revealed that the heroic gorilla had been nursed and raised by human caretakers in the zoo’s infirmary. It was believed that she learned gentleness from those caregivers.
When a wild animal displays gentleness, that is considered “news,” because everyone recognizes that gentleness is a moral behavior, something that’s rare enough in humans! But it shouldn’t be rare among God’s people because it’s a fruit of his Spirit. If God’s Spirit lives inside you and controls you, he will show you that gentleness is right and cruelty and rudeness are wrong. He will give you a heart of gentleness and help you treat others with the gentleness that is part of his nature.
REFLECT: Do your attitudes and actions show that you have learned gentleness? From whom? Have you thanked the person for teaching you gentleness?
Have you treated anyone cruelly or rudely in recent days or weeks? If so, have you sought forgiveness for your behavior? How can you allow God to produce gentleness in your heart and life today?