Gentleness

Oh! that gentleness! how far more potent is it than force! ― Charlotte Brontë 

Gentleness:
1. kindly; amiable: a gentle manner.
2. not severe, rough, or violent; mild.
3. moderate: gentle.
4. polite; refined; respectable.


Gentleness no longer popular, its gone out of fashion like good manners and being feminine. Gentleness is considered a sign of weakness. Women who are gentle are seen as passive. Training a daughter to be gentle is seen as anti-feminist. Modern women are taught to be tough like men, stand up for themselves, domineering, speak their mind, be forceful, loud, willing to fight. You won't find too many gentle women in positions of power. 

What was once considered a strength is now considered a weakness.  


Let your gentleness be known to all men. (Philippians 4:5)

Along with the death of gentleness, we have also seen the decline in meekness, kindness, caring, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and patiences. In the race for equality, women have lost the very essences of what being a woman is. Women have given up all that is good in their fight to be the same as men. Sadly, good men also have these strengths, it is not just the realm of women. We need gentle men in positions of power. 

In our rough and rugged individualism, we think of gentleness as weakness, being soft and virtually spineless. Not so! Gentleness includes such enviable qualities as having strength under control, being calm and peaceful when surrounded by a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those who may be angry or otherwise beside themselves, and possessing tact and gracious courtesy that causes others to retain their self-esteem and dignity. Instead of losing, the gentle gain. Instead of being ripped off and taken advantage of, they come out ahead! ―  Charles Swindoll

How do you maintain gentleness in a violent world, how do you teach gentleness to your children? We live in an age were responding angrily has become the norm, just turn on the nightly news and you will see the consequence of this anger every single night. However, as Christians we must not conform to this world, we must stand apart and behave differently. We need to change our mindset, gentleness is not a weakness, it is "courage without violence, strength without harshness and love without anger" (André Comte-Sponville)

To speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:2)

I am not always gentle in my behaviour and it is something I have been actively working on. My first point of call is the Bible which contains many verses on this very topic.  Men and women alike have been instructed to remain gentle in our responses, to turn away from wrath, to remain pure at heart, peaceable with all men, have patiences and self contol and for women in particular, have a quiet and gentle spirit. This does not mean you cannot disagree with someone or stand up and defend yourself. We will from time to time come into conflict with others. How we respond to that conflict is what is important. 

Our response needs to be one of gentleness in the way we speak (removing all tones of anger), our manner towards the other person needs to show kindness and not signs of attack, remaining polite and gracious, and it means being more than willing to give or take ― winning at all costs is not relevant. Being able to walk away and not engage in an argument. This all takes courage and self-control.  It isn't something you can suddenly learn in a moment of conflict, it is a behaviour that is learnt from a tender age and continually practiced. Jesus is our role model ― He never raised his voice, cried out or yelled, he remained humble in all situations.   

Gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:23)

We need to wear our gentleness like a badge, be proud of being gentle, showing our children that being gentle is a sign of strength, discipline, courage and self-control  not a sign of passive, wimpish, give-in attitude. 

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient (2 Timothy 2:24)

Gentleness at home, gentleness in the workplace, gentleness around friends and strangers. It isn't something we switch on and off  we need to do it all the time, it is not an option it is an obligation.  Gentleness does not mean you can't have a good time, it isn't about being boring or dull. It doesn't mean you can't laugh out loud, say a joke and have fun. It does mean however, thinking before you speak, not hurting another person with your words and walking like Christ and pursing godliness. 

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:11)

Gentleness in a marriage can transform a marriage from a train wreck to something beautiful. Even if your husband is not gentle (quick to angry), walking in the path of gentleness can make all the differences. Always think of Proverbs 15:1 when things are beginning to turn nasty  A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The Bible is full of advice to live by and when in doubt turn to the Bible as our life manual. I know that we know this, but in times of rage, it is easy to forget. 

With all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

If you are struggling with gentleness in your life, pray. Only through the grace of God can we become gentle women. Instead of looking to the harsh world for advice, turn your face upwards to God. His words are full of gentleness, grace, love, kindness. Write in your journal these beautiful verses, carry them with you in your purse, read them when in doubt. No one says being gentle is easy, but with God, all things are possible. 

Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:4)

*****

Comments

  1. I love this Jo. People think being gentle is being a doormat, being weak. I think it takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage and love to be gentle. I was getting my hair done yesterday and was flipping through a fashion magazine there and was struck by how angry and arrogant and mannish all the models looked. No trace of kindness or gentleness. And yes, the news and talk shows are full of angry people interrupting each other. There aren't many models of gentle behavior in the public sphere. Thankful we have an instruction manual in God's Word.

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    1. Thankyou Deborah,

      Women (some not all) are becoming so aggressive. In fact I was listening to an interview on the radio the other day about prisoners in the USA and how the number of women being incarcerated is increasing. The same is happening in Australia. This is happening because a growing number of women are drinking more, gambling more, willing to get into street fights etc.. and they end up getting being sent to jail. What a sad decline in society.

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  2. Thank you for this great reminder of how to live out the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. I always appreciate a post that brings me back to the Bible! I'm your neighbor at Monday Musings. Blessings!

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    1. Lovely to meet you :) The Bible is SO full of wonderful and practical advice, why do we often go there last rather than first!

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  3. Thank you for writing this, Jo. My house is kind of chaotic right now so I'm leaving this open to read and study again this evening. Gentleness is something I definitely need to work on! I hope you'll stop by and link up with my homemaking party, if you've not already. I'm trying to build a positive, Christian atmosphere at my blog and your post would fit in well!

    Blessings,
    Sarah

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    1. Thanks Sarah for dropping by :) I love the idea of a positive blog that offers encouragement. I have a Facebook page that offers encouragement daily if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/joyintheeveryday

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  4. Thank you so much for posting this. I needed to read this today. God bless you!

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    1. Thankyou for visiting :)

      In Gods Grace

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  5. This is SO important, Jo - and something people tend to forget so quickly in today's world of speed and impulsiveness! I think it's definitely something we need to not only teach our children, but model ourselves... It's not an easy one, though! Something to continually work on, with the Lord's help. x

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    1. Yes, very important to "walk the talk" as they say. You can spot a gentle person a mile away as they stand out in the crowd of nose and rush. And yes, its a continual thing to work on.

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  6. I really loved this post Jo! As someone who is passionate about things (which can be good and bad)... Gentleness is something I am working on daily... It is so beautiful and you described it well here. Thank you for sharing at the Art of Homemaking Mondays this week as I know it takes time and effort to link up. Have a lovely day! :) And may we both grow in gentleness and bring light to those shadowy moments...

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    1. Thanks Jes,

      Yes, I know the problem of being passionate about things. However I am learning to let things go - if someone wants to do something differently and the sky won't fall in, then its important not to get worked up about it. because it is very easy to loss that gentleness trying to get our own ways.

      :))

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  7. An important, and gentle reminder, Jo. Thank you. Your post reminded me of the writings of Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Elisabeth Elliot. Biblical Womanhood is a scarce concept in today's world! Glad to see it here. BTW, interesting to note, I have the exact same bowl as in the picture on your sidebar with the daisy. I inherited it from my dad. It was his "bread" bowl. He mixed bread dough in it every day of his life for 20 years. Have a blessed week!

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    1. Thankyou June for your kind words. No, gentleness is dying and being replaced by aggression and anger and what a world we are having to bring our children up in.

      My dad makes his own bread, but he uses a bread maker :) He is now 80 and still able to do these tasks and he loves to cook different things for dinner.

      Blessings.

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  8. Just a note to say... This encouraging post was FEATURED this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! Have a lovely week! :)

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    1. That's great news Jes :)) Have a wonderful weekend.

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  9. Hello Jo! Thank you so much for this beautiful and "gentle" reminder to be gentle in all that we do. Thank you for sharing, teaching, and encouraging.

    Have a blessed day!

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    1. Thankyou Stephanie for your kind words :)

      May you have a blessed day too.

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  10. This is such a wonderful post. It's oh so true. Our world does chase 'power' and yet no-one seems too happy with it!
    I do think that gentleness isn't something that comes naturally, its definitely a trait to work on! :-)

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    1. When you meet a truly happy person they really stand out - my elderly aunt is one such person and I look at her with admiration for her graciousness and gentleness but she really is a rare woman at at 86, I doubt there will be many more like her!!

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