Someone once said, “There is nothing that shows your strength better than your Gentleness.” Strength is the ability to do things that need a lot of physical or mental effort. It’s the choice to continue through the pain even when it feels unbearably hard. That’s because Gentleness breeds peace, calm, and consistency of character. It is not volatile or abrupt in its response to the world. Gentleness is strength because it remains constant and clear-minded, involving all manner of situations.

Andy Mort has a blog that he calls, “A Home for Gentle Rebels: Find the Courage to Embrace Your Creative Sensitivity and Change the World from the Inside Out.” He shares several things he learned about Gentleness. One of them is: Being conscious of your feelings. That’s because we don’t always like to confront how we really feel about things. We are often quick to sugar coat and gloss over our natural emotional response to people and situations. But Gentleness acknowledges the truth of what is being felt. If you are sad, then you are sad; if you are angry, then you are angry. Pretending will not make those things disappear, it will just push such feelings beneath the surface. Your emotional response is neither right or wrong, but it IS true.

Another thing about Gentleness is that Gentle people make and embrace the time and space between something happening and when they respond to it. They are not reactionary. They don’t feel any pressure to respond immediately. They always step back and take a good look at what they are facing. They are constantly aware that they must care as much about what others are dealing with, not just themselves. It is so easy to become marginalized and switch off your heart. Certain situations can quickly feel hopeless, pointless, and futile if we allow that to happen. Our experiences can lead us to become disinterested. Staying steady and true to our feelings and those of others can be dealt with in a Gentle way.

It also helps to focus more on the situation. Does it really matter? Why are those involved important? The Gentle spirit will find reasons that ignite a positive motivation. They find an excuse to say, “yes, this is worth my attention and investment.” They are aware of a deeper sense of purpose so that when it feels futile or meaningless, they can draw on a reason to continue that transcends their own ability to muster the energy.

One more factor in Gentleness is deciding what you are going to do before you do it. A Gentle spirit embraces the ability to choose rather than reacting. Using the space between what has happened and what needs to be done, your response becomes a foundation where you know what your next step will be, and you can identify the intention behind it. Gentleness has the insight to see the implications and consequences of action. The action is taken now with a good idea of what will happen as a result of what is done. The rational decision is taken at the expense of a regrettable emotional reaction.

Not only that but connecting with others is what nurtures Gentleness. Cultivating empathy, and an understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around their perception of reality is a habit of the Gentle spirit. Other people care about other things for reasons that you might not yet fully grasp. That doesn’t make them wrong. Empathy comes through Gentle strength; by seeking to experience the world through their senses, you find a place to make a profound difference in their lives.

As the famous anonymous quote says: “Be Gentle, for everyone you meet is fighting a difficult battle.”

Who else is affected by the situation? The Gentle spirit feels the wider impact beyond that which it merely feels for themselves. That’s because Gentle spirited people observe the world. They perceive themselves, other people, and the situations they experience. Reflecting on these things is an important part of learning and growing in the future. The more that you intentionally acknowledge your response to things, the more control you will have over them next time.

Therefore, we can conclude that Gentleness is a strong arm with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others’ weaknesses and limitations. A Gentle person still speaks truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so, guards their tone so the truth can be well received. We might say this is the virtue and characteristic of what we may often call, “A Gentle Giant.”

Perhaps we can now see why Gentleness is taught in the Holy Scriptures. King David told the Lord, “You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your Gentleness made me great.”[1] And as King Solomon said: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.[2] And the prophet Isaiah said this about the coming Messiah: “He will tend His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms; He will carry them in His bosom, and Gently lead those that are with young.”[3]

So, it is no wonder the Messiah Himself called out: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.[4] The Apostle Peter must have taken this to heart because he wrote that we are to honor the Anointed One, the Lord, as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with Gentleness and respect.[5]

So, we are not surprised then that the Apostle Paul instructed Titus to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be Gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.[6] And to young Timothy, Paul gave the following instructions: The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with Gentleness.[7] Also, the Apostle James advises that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, Gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.[8]

So being Gentle doesn’t mean acting bashful or just being careful not to hurt others. Gentleness is having the ability to cause harm but uses that same power to bring about healing. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] Psalm 18:35

[2] Proverbs 15:1

[3] Isaiah 40:11

[4] Matthew 11:29

[5] 1 Peter 3:15

[6] Titus 3:2

[7] 2 Timothy 2:24

[8] James 3:17

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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