Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! (Philippians 4:5)
Gentleness is controlled strength which may best be understood in contrast with what it is not.
Consider Proverbs 13:2. Then think about the things your boyfriend reads and watches in movies and on television.
The things that go into a man’s mind will eventually be reflected in his speech and actions.
Men, as a rule, tend to be naturally more aggressive than women. This is not a bad thing—it propels them to be good providers and protectors for their families and helps them to be competitive in the work force. But when their aggression becomes a craving for excessive violence or brutality, that is a warning signal that it has gotten out of balance and could at some point put you or your children in danger.
Do not be deceived into thinking that a man who is harsh or violent in his treatment of other people will not eventually treat you in the same way. Being “in love” is only a temporary cushion from established negative behavior patterns. Do not marry a man who treats other people in a way that would be offensive or hurtful if it were you—in time, it will be you.
· How does the man in whom you are interested respond to someone who is angry?
· Does he use gentle words to persuade others (particularly those in authority over him) to think or act in agreement with his desires or opinions, or is he bossy and demanding?
· Is his Christian testimony gentle and respectful?
Jude 14-16 describes judgment that will come to men who speak harshly instead of gently.
Read Ephesians 4:2.
If you see evidence of humility and patience in a man, it is very likely that gentleness will continue to grow in his life, as well. If these qualities are markedly absent in his nature, do not expect him to develop gentleness.
Jesus is a perfect example of the blending of humility and gentleness. Read His words in Matthew 11:29.
For the grace of God . . . trains us to reject godless ways
and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright
and godly lives in the present age . . . . (Titus 2:11-12)
Read 1 Peter 1:13-16. In this passage, the apostle Peter lists self-control (not complying with evil urges) as one of three things that enable us to walk in holiness.
This is similar to the apostle Paul’s admonition in Titus 2:11-12 to “reject godless ways and worldly desires.” Let’s take a look at some of the godless ways and worldly desires that can tug at a man.
· Does he agree with the Bible’s teachings about restraint from sexual immorality?
· When have you observed him restraining his anger?
When have you observed him giving full vent to his anger?
· Can he let a quarrel die, or must he always have the last word?
Can he ever let someone be “wrong” for the sake of peace, or must he argue every issue?
· Does he hear you out fully when you are trying to tell him something?
· Is he obsessed with getting rich?
How do you know?
· Must he always give his opinion?
· Does he talk too much, monopolizing most conversations?
· Does he say things that are inappropriate?
· Does he sometimes embarrass you by being too loud or brash?
· Does he frequently drink enough alcohol to have a hangover the next day?
Does he consistently overeat?
· Does he have the good judgment to not “wear out his welcome” with people he knows?
· Does he turn from evil, or does he play at its fringes?
Does he endanger himself or you by doing reckless things?
· How often does he demean or ridicule other people?
We all have need for improvement in one or more of these areas. Self-control is neither easily developed nor effortlessly maintained, but it is a character quality that a Christian should be willing to strive for and become better at. Think about whether or not you see evidence in your boyfriend of growth—or at least an awareness of his need to improve—in each of the above areas, as well as in other areas that you have observed.