by Rick Warren — May 7, 2023
From The Keys to a Blessed Life
“A woman of gentle grace gets respect.”
Proverbs 11:16 (MSG)
Gentleness is a prerequisite to leadership. No matter where you want to be a leader—in church, government, business, home, school, or your community—you first have to be gentle.
Proverbs 11:16 says, “A woman of gentle grace gets respect” (MSG)—and that’s true for men too. Gentleness leads to respect, and no one can truly lead without being respected.
Jesus was “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29 NIV). He was strong in every way. He could make arrogant leaders speechless and overturn tables in the temple. But he never lost his temper. He kept his strength under control. He was gentle.
Other than Jesus, only one person in the Bible was called gentle: Moses.
You probably think of Moses as a strong leader. He took on Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world at the time, and demanded that Pharaoh let God’s people go. Moses had nothing but God on his side—and that was enough for him. But before Moses was a leader, Moses was gentle.
Here’s what the Bible says about Moses: “Now the man Moses was very humble (gentle, kind, devoid of self-righteousness), more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3 AMP).
But it’s likely that gentleness didn’t come naturally for Moses. His persistent sin was uncontrolled anger; he had a violent temper, and he had trouble managing it.
One time Moses got so angry that he killed an Egyptian. When Moses came down from the mountain after receiving the Ten Commandments, he found the Hebrew people worshiping an idol. He was so angry that he threw down the Ten Commandments and broke them. And anger was what kept Moses from entering the Promised Land.
So how could the guy who had a lifelong problem with anger be the only one in the Bible besides Jesus who is called gentle? Because Moses was teachable. When people spoke to him about areas of his life that needed changing, it didn’t make him angry. Instead, he learned from them.
He was gentle. And that gentleness earned him respect. And that respect made him a leader.
Maybe you struggle with anger like Moses. Or maybe you’re too submissive, or impatient, or lazy. Whatever you struggle with, choose to have a gentle, teachable spirit. You’ll find that your gentleness earns you the respect of the people around you.