When You Want to Push Somebody Down #Gentleness

I sat around the table with friends sharing our prayer needs. Open, honest, and vulnerable, I told mine. We’re like minded. Women of faith, and kindred spirits who’ve heard the call to write, so it seemed to be a safe place.

But it wasn’t.

As soon as I let my request out, questions and “answers” spilled from (well-meaning) lips.

Have you noticed we often try to fix the problem ourselves rather than pray first or simply pray? (Which was the whole point of sharing that day.)

One of the advice-answers to my prayer request was very painful. It might have held some truth, but it was still hard to hear, and something no writer or reader should say to their friend. Though looking back, I do think she was trying to be “gentle” in her own way.

Her answer felt more like a Mack truck running over me.

I peeled myself off the proverbial highway and limped home. A little broken. A lot discouraged. I began to pray for God to redeem the whole thing—the prayer request and the answers that ensued.

“Use it for your glory, God” was my prayer.

It took me a few weeks to get to that prayer. But I’ve learned how powerful that request can be, so I’ve begun making it my mantra for painful moments such as the prayer wreck.

A few days after the incident a good friend told me as we talked on the phone that she had to restrain herself from pushing the “offender” down when she blurted out those painful words. My good friend just sat there in silence. I honestly was surprised when she didn’t defend me.

It was a funny thought– my protector friend knocking the other one down.

We would never.

But still, don’t you want to sometimes?

Do you ever want to knock somebody down when they say mean things?! Sometimes we’re still those sweaty children on the playground, aren’t we? I’m still that freckled-faced, hair braided, un-athletic little girl who sometimes doesn’t think before she jumps off the teeter-totter in mid air bringing my friend to the ground with a jarring thump.

What gets into us?

Andy, what does this have to do with “gentlesness”?

I’m so glad you asked. I need to get back on track.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

We’ve been in a nine-week study on the Fruit of the Spirit, and I’ve been blown away by the fruits and all they entail and give us. But “gentleness” is an amazing, crazy, definitely not human fruit. It can only be nurtured supernaturally by God Himself. It’s a knowing when to be quiet and when to give the hard truth in a kind way.

It’s More Than Gentleness

We do not have an English word that is a perfect counterpart for the Greek word Paul wrote about in Galatians 5:23. Here’s the definition for prautes, sometimes translated as meekness. We think of meek and gentle as timid and soft. But this meekness is toward God; that’s where it must start, and it grows into a powerful trait.

Prautes. Meekness, but not in man’s outward behavior only, nor in his relations to his fellow man or his mere natural disposition, but an inwrought grace of the soul expressed primarily toward God. It is that attitude of spirit by which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist….prautes is getting angry at the right time, in the right measure, for the right reasons…. it is a condition of mind and heart which demonstrates gentleness, not in weakness but in power. It is a balance born in strength and character (Key Word Study Bible NIV).

There is nothing about prautes we can obtain in our own strength, in our human hearts. It is only cultivated in us as we lean into Jesus. As we yield more and more to his Holy Spirit, and exchange our pride, our thoughts, our wisdom for His. It has to start by trusting the goodness of God.

Gentleness (prautes) is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards his tone so the truth can be well received. Gary Thomas, Focus on the Family (addition mine. )

Studying the different way prautes is used in the scriptures will help us understand this fruit better. Join me this week as we dig deep into the fruit of gentleness.

Sneak Peek of Printable for Your Study (Get it here!)

(The definition of prautes is on the printable also.)

Monday: Matthew 5:5:  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

  • Which part of the definition above is hardest and requires most help from the Lord in your life?

Tuesday: 1 Peter 3:15: “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”

  • What is the key to sharing our faith here? If you’ve done it differently in the past, ask the Lord to redeem it and give you a second chance, or to be bold if you’ve never done so. I always wait for and ask for an open door.

Wednesday: Titus 3:1-2: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

  • Incorporate the definition of prautes. What phrases in this verse demonstrate it?

Thursday: 1 Timothy 6:11: “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

  • The verses before this refer to the temptation of money and greed. How will pursuing prautes help to reach “godliness with contentment” (v.6)?

Friday: Colossians 3:12: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”

  • What one quality in this list seems to be the most essential for all of them?

Saturday: Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

  • Apply the definition of prautes? Does it change the way you’ve read this verse before?

Sunday: 2 Corinthians 10:1: “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away.

  • My friends, you’ve got to read the rest! Grab your Bible and read 2 Cor. 10:1-6. That is prautes. Journal your thoughts.

Grab the printable on the Fruit of the Spirit of gentleness here. :) 

Pride Gets Us Every Time

When we are too full of pride, we cannot be gentle with others; we cannot be a friend, for all we will do is hurt them and push them away. We can look to Jesus who modeled ultimate gentleness and care. Being fully God He does not have to be gentle, yet He takes to time to nurture others . . . .(

Pride also prevents us from that “inwrought grace” of accepting all God has for us. If we struggle with this, we must go back to Jesus, the image of the invisible God.

Can we think of anyone more gentle than Jesus?  Yet, there were times when he was angry. One time he knocked over the money changers’ tables in the Temple Courts, evacuating all the people in righteous anger (and with a whip!) John 2: 14-16. That is prautes. 

So, what do we do when we want to knock somebody down?

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Pray for Grace.
  • Count to ten before responding.
  • Pray for Holy Spirit to give you the best response, in humility and truth.

The Key to this powerful fruit called prautes is . . . .


I remember once sitting on a couch with a friend who was planning to divorce her husband. She had informed me of her intentions earlier, and all day my heart weighed heavy. I prayed and prayed and prayed, and then finally, I knew I had to go back to her house and urge her to reconsider.

With tears in my eyes, I told her I didn’t think that was what God wanted for her marriage. My advice didn’t change her mind, but my tears did. Years later she told me that my tears made the difference, not my words.

I was so scared that day. Scared of losing a friend, scared to tell her something I felt deep inside my soul, something not only biblical, but Spirit led. God granted me prautes that day. I didn’t go to her because I felt a righteous indignation. I sat on her couch humble and broken and led by Someone much wiser, kind, loving, and prautes than me.

Do I do this everyday? No, but it’s available to us if we yield to Him. I’m working on it.

Daily Live Teaching

I’m looking forward to studying “gentleness” with you. Join my daily broadcast on Facebook. (Just follow me.) It’s live at 8:20 AM ET. Come on over to my kitchen and sit around my table for some soul nourishment as we dig deeper into each “bite” for the day. You can watch them later on YouTube too if that’s better for you.

I really feel the need to pray you up this week. Grab my hands.

“Lord, it’s really hard to understand your word when we don’t have a word in our language that adequately fits yours. But Holy Spirit, you are faithful. And Jesus you demonstrated all of the fruit of the Spirit with grace and power. As we study this week, show us examples in the Bible and our daily lives. As we yield to you, fill us with prautes so that our lives will be fruitful. We want to make a difference in this place. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.”

Love you my friends! Thanks for joining me. Don’t forget to grab the printable!

Digging Deep into Gentleness God’s Way,


PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

P.S.S. This is part of a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Read the articles on love, joy, peace, patience , kindness,  and goodness ,and faithfulness if you missed them!


  1. […] the Spirit of Gentleness that speaks with kindness and humility, power and strength all. the. time. You know, sometimes you just want to knock somebody down! That’s not […]

  2. […] of me but drips off me. I want to leave a trail of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control everywhere I go. And I pray this for you […]

  3. venus

    Good Word just what I needed as always. Thank you for words of truth to water my garden as I cultivate Faith:)

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