A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 Gentleness stands out among the five virtues in Colossians 3:12 as one that doesn’t usually get much attention these days. We tend to gravitate towards those who respond to problems, conflict or injustice in a decisive and sure way – more the superhero who uses his strength and skill to physically defeat the evil villain and less Jesus refusing to stone the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Yet gentleness is one of the fruit of the spirit and a key to better relationships. Gentleness creates room for a wise and thoughtful response to conflict. James writes, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17, ESV). We find an example of this in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The main character, George Bailey, is heading out of town on his honeymoon when he sees a crowd rushing towards the family’s building and loan. Going in to investigate, he calmly suggests the people have a seat and reassures them that he will be back. His uncle shares that the bank has called in their loan and people are rushing the bank to withdraw all of their cash. You can see the stress on George’s face as he realizes the gravity of the situation. However, he doesn’t join the general panic. Rather he calmly explains to the crowd the nature of a building and loan, reminding them of a longer term perspective. His new bride hands him the money they’ve saved for their honeymoon, cash that the crowd can share until the bank reopens. George’s gentleness saves not only the family business, but also helps a good portion of the town survive the stock market crash. Perhaps more importantly it builds his relationships with the townspeople. Have you experienced a gentle response in your own life? How did that affect your relationship with that person?