…not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
1 Timothy 3:3 (emphasis mine)
In contrast to practicing violence, the Christian leader is to be “gentle” or forbearing in his relationships to troublemakers. The “gentle” man uses elasticity in supervision and is flexible rather than rigid. Synonyms for “gentle” include yielding, kind, forbearing, and considerate.1
Elders will find themselves facing difficult circumstances with difficult people. In the midst of the challenges they face, they must respond with gentleness. It is very easy to allow anger, bitterness, and frustration to seep into a person’s heart. The elder must guard against this danger.
All Christians are expected to demonstrate this virtue. Notice the emphasis on being gentle to all men. It is certainly more difficult to be gentle with those who are argumentative and critical.
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
…to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
James reminds us that gentleness is associated with godly wisdom.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
Elders must be able to use godly wisdom when dealing with the variety of issues they face in the context of the church. Such wisdom will be expressed in a spirit of gentleness.
1 Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 111). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.