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004: Gentleness – Resolving Conflict God’s Way

As we continue to discuss necessary heart dispositions for conflict resolution, one characteristic is equally essential and difficult. This characteristic is gentleness. If a spouse, worker, parent, or child finds himself or herself in many conflicts, you can assume that he or she lacks gentleness. If biblical counselors lack gentleness, they can escalate conflicts or harm their counselees, especially when stepping into a counselee’s sinful mess. What principles should guide how we think about cultivating gentleness for conflict resolution?

In this week’s episode of the Biblical Counseling Podcast, Pastor Jeff Christianson and his wife, Jennie Christianson examine the heart disposition of gentleness. Gentleness is essential to conflict resolution. God calls biblical counselors to care for their counselees with gentleness. Everyone knows the care and gentleness needed by doctors and surgeons in handling, repairing, and restoring the wounds of their patients. A careless surgeon can seriously harm a patient. As counselors conduct heart surgery--addressing and caring for the thoughts, fears, wounds, and worries of their counselees--counselors will harm their counselees if they lack gentleness. 

Biblical counselors must excel in gentleness for the sake of their counselees. At the same time, biblical counselors must model gentleness, since gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. If a counselor lacks gentleness, he is not mature enough to serve as a representative of the Wonderful Counselor. 

Pastor Jeff and Jennie share three important reflections on gentleness in conflict resolution: 

First, Pastor Jeff and Jennie remind listeners that gentleness is the opposite of strife, wrath, or being pushy. The flesh produces strife, wrath, and a pushy approach to care, while the Spirit produces patience and gentleness. Do you want the Holy Spirit present in the counseling room? If you cultivate the spiritual fruit of gentleness, your gentleness in the counseling room is a work of the Spirit and bears witness to the Spirit’s presence with you as you counsel. As you walk by the Spirit and let the water of the Word wash over you, you will cultivate gentleness rather than strife and wrath. 

Second, Pastor Jeff and Jennie share reflections on gentleness and anger. Christians can cultivate gentleness through controlling and defusing their anger. If you feel anger rising within you, gain composure before opening your mouth. Gentle people use self-control to restrain anger. Moreover, gentle people are quick to forgive and to overlook offenses. They keep themselves from meditating upon the frustrating actions of others. Christians who demonstrate gentleness also take the less-travelled road of humility. 

Third, our hosts share this important principle: gentle people are willing to consider their own contribution to a conflict. Even if someone fails to exercise gentleness in a conflict, you will see the Spirit cultivating gentleness in a believer when a believer stops and reflects upon his or her contributions to a conflict. 

Counselors help their counselees cultivate gentleness. They point their counselees to the Word and guide their counselees in developing an active walk with the Lord. By walking with the Spirit, counselees slowly grow in gentleness. 

Want to learn more? Listen to this podcast to hear Pastor Jeff and Jennie address: 

  • Key components of gentleness
  • Illustrations of gentleness in the counseling room
  • Counselor insights into cultivating gentleness in counselees

What You'll Discover in this Episode:

  • Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit.
  • Learn step by step, day by day, how to be slow to speak, and be slow to wrath.
  • Gentleness is a fruit of the spirit. As we grow in Christ, he's developing gentleness in our lives. 
  • Gentle people are slow to act, controlled in their response, able to question their own provocations.
  • Gentleness is staying in command of your thoughts, your tongue, and even your countenance and body language during times when you may be provoked.
  • Let us know that you listened by making a comment and sharing this podcast with your social media friends!


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  • Laura Dahne says:

    This biblical conversation centered around our need to live out gentle lives never goes out of fashion. One of my favorite scriptures to live out when I have a conflict with someone is from Matthew 18:15 which says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” I love that the Lord has taught us the proper way to deal with conflict and what the outcome should be, at least from our perspective, which is to win our brother.

    I have had to have many crucial conversations in my life and I have always found the faithfulness of God to be present when I begin one of these conversations with this end goal in sight- to be truthful with a gentle spirit- and in doing so, to win my friend/brother back.

    • Yvonne Howe says:

      Your post is an encouraging reminder in all encounters to keep the end goal in sight. May He be glorified.

  • Audra Downs says:

    God is SO Faithful! My ladies bible study is in John 15, studying Jesus being the vine (our life source) and we the branches are only as healthy as we receive nourishment from Him. There was a question about which fruits of the spirit we feel that need Jesus to fertilize and grow in our lives. What is so awesome about listening to this podcast tonight is that Pastor Jeff encouraged the listener to ask The Holy Spirit to strengthen the fruit of the spirit that needs His nourishment and reviving. Is it weird that I never thought to specifically ask that? It is so simple. I feel ridiculous right now even admitting that I never thought to ask the Lord specifically about the fruit in my life that is drying up or unhealthy but I am going to tonight and every day hereafter. All through this course, my bible study has coincided with what I am learning every week. Thank you Lord!

    • Laura Dahne says:

      I am in step and in agreement with you, Audra. I have asked the Holy Spirit for many things but never thought to ask specifically for that. Thank you Pastor Jeff for reminding us that we can ask the Lord for anything we have need of – and certainly GENTLENESS is something all of us – including myself, can use a lot more of!

  • Jessie Kahl says:

    I needed to hear this podcast! My husband and I are meeting with someone tonight to resolve a conflict, and this was so timely! Thank you to and your wife! 🙂

    • Laura Dahne says:

      The couple that you are meeting with is especially blessed to know that you are entering into a conversation with them with this biblical understanding of gentleness. It’s interesting that many people find it difficult to be gentle on their own but yet are willing to submit to the truth of it when someone else brings it forth.

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