Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Paul knows how to pack a punch when it comes to practical application. Those who aspire to live lives worthy of their calling need to be ones who welcome scripture's scalpel (Hebrews 4.12). There is no leeway here. No loopholes. The "completely" of verse 2 is as uncompromising as verse 3's "every effort." Ouch. I'm not even sure I would stretch to call myself semi-gentle. Most of the time I am resoundingly ungentle, unhumble. Uniquely, these are the two virtues with which our faith's author labels himself: I am gentle and humble in heart. And yet gentleness doesn't seem a particularly exciting thing to aspire to. It's almost synonymous with weakness, doormats, being walked over, relegated alongside kindness as an often forgotten and overlooked fruit of the spirit. But Jesus isn't asking us to learn to be well-meaning wimps; his humble gentleness is a different thing entirely. Meekness is not weakness because our saviour is not weak. It is the conscious restraint of power and strength for the sake of others. It is choosing someone else's importance. To be truly gentle with someone is to be aware of their hurts and sore spots, to have a tamed tongue and considered actions, to be deliberately tender even when that isn't one of your more obvious character traits. Gentleness is Jesus's way. We need to walk in it.