The wisdom from above displays a spirit of humility, reasonableness and grace, in contrast to the wisdom that is earthly and of man's own origin. The biblical description of that wisdom is, “gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy” (James 3:17). The word “gentle" carries the thought of being moderate, forbearing, and fair.
Some make the assumption that a gentle spirit is a sign of weakness, that if you are contending for truth you need not be concerned about presenting it with gentleness. I once heard a man preaching on the doctrines of grace and he sounded like he was angry with everyone who might not see it his way.
If we really understand grace we see that it is not just a doctrine to believe but also a principle to live. Grace will make you gracious.
The Pharisees were a classic example of those who claimed to have truth but knew nothing of a gentle spirit or of the joy of true spirituality. They were contentious. They were concerned about washing hands, washing cups, washing pots, and washing tables. They were committed to pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin but forgot judgment, mercy, and faith.These religious leaders were constantly finding fault. They criticized Jesus because he healed on the Sabbath. They found fault when Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. When Jesus cast out devils they not only found fault, they had the audacity to stand in the face of the Son of God and say, “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (Matthew 12:24). Jesus described them as being the blind leading the blind and that both would fall into the ditch.In vivid contrast, the Apostle Paul, though once a Pharisee but now transformed by grace, ministered with a gentle spirit. In writing to the church at Thessalonica he says, “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children… as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7, 11). Paul was bold in his stand for truth. He certainly did not compromise, but he was gentle in his efforts to instruct those who needed instruction and to exhort those who needed exhortation. How many marriages might be saved if husbands and wives would discuss their differences with a gentle spirit? What a difference it would make in many homes today if parents, while maintaining disciple, approached their children with a gentle spirit. How many church problems could be peacefully resolved if all concerned would display a gentle spirit? It’s easy to identify the wrong spirit in another person; but it is beneficial to examine our own heart and strive by the enabling grace of God to be gentle in all our interactions with others.
Another quality of this wisdom from above is that one is “easy to be entreated.” This person is open to reasoning. He realizes he doesn't know everything and is willing to learn. He is not willing to compromise truth and is not led astray by every wind of doctrine or new idea which may be presented. But he is not one of these contentious people who act like “truth begins and ends with me.” Recognizing that you have been wrong a few times helps you to maintain the right spirit when being entreated.Some people can never admit they are wrong and are never willing to listen to or receive counsel and admonition from others. They are generally in the midst of some kind of conflict but never see that it is their fault. In fact when anyone disagrees with them, their tendency is to become angry and just walk away. This type of person goes from job to job, church to church, and even marriage to marriage, always believing all the problems were someone else's fault.
The basic cause for rejecting kind, entreating words that are biblically based is pride.
In chapter four, verse 10, James says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” Humility is not determined by the posture of one's body or the tone of one’s voice, but by the attitude of the heart. If a man feels he is more knowledgeable than others, more spiritual than others, then he is offended by any effort to entreat him.Paul writes: “I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). Though a person may be convinced he has great insight and wisdom, if that wisdom is not accompanied with humility it is not from above.Philippians 2:3 emphasizes the point, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” With that spirit you will be willing to learn from someone who has less education than you have, is younger that you are, or is not directly connected with your fellowship. A clear sight of your own weakness and failures will greatly assist you to esteem others better than yourself.
Furthermore, this godly wisdom is full of mercy. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Where would we be apart from the mercy of God? The Psalmist asked, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall shand?” (Psalm 130:3). Realizing we have received God's mercy ourselves should make us more willing and eager to be merciful to others. In Matthew 18, Jesus spoke of a man who owed a great debt he could not pay. The lord of that servant was moved with compassion and forgave him the debt. Though the man had just been forgiven his debt, he found a fellow servant who owed him a much lesser amount and demanded immediate payment, and cast him into prison until he could pay. When others observed this, they were grieved and reported it to his lord. His lord rebuked him and delivered him to the tormentors. And then Jesus said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.”No doubt there are those who face many conflicts and frustrations and cannot understand the cause, when in fact the Lord may have delivered them to the tormentors. When we refuse to forgive and harbor bitterness, we cannot have peace and joy.
Fellowship with the Lord is disrupted until bitterness is rooted out and genuine forgiveness takes its place.
But someone might say, “You just don't understand how deeply I have been hurt; I don't see how I can ever forgive.” If it were a matter of sheer willpower, then we might well conclude that to forgive is impossible, but for God's children it is another matter. “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). No matter how great the offense against you it cannot compare to your sin against God. What mercy, what grace, that God has freely forgiven you! In view of the mercy you have received, there should be no hesitation to forgive others and show mercy wherever there is one in need.May it be our prayer that we grow in grace and that the wisdom from above will fill us and control us — that we may be gentle, easy to be entreated, and full of mercy.