Self-control can apply to so many areas of our life. It often means saying no to something we want or refraining from making that comment or choosing to not engage with a person or situation you know will not end well. It often means biting my tongue and asking what will I gain if I say that or do this? While there might be momentary satisfaction of letting someone know exactly what you think, it isn’t always necessary or kind. Sometimes saying nothing really is the best recourse.
Most sins come about because of a lack of self-control. It can be sins no one knows about or those that are obvious to others; they can be very small misdeeds or be harmful to many. I think self-control is a bit like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
Then we come to gentleness, talk about counter-cultural! I want to be the kind of person people can come to when they are in need of support. Being gentle of spirit helps cultivate my ability to respond with care and concern rather than react with negativity, no matter what a person says to me. It is a gift; I honed it as a youth minister because nothing closes a conversation down like judgement or negativity. I think if a person needs to unburden themselves of pain, I am there to listen, not decide if their pain is real. After all, as my mom says, “your toothache always hurts.”