When ‘gentle’ doesn’t feel like a compliment

Gentle.

Numerous times I’ve heard that word used to describe me. It was always meant as a compliment, but somehow I was unable to receive it. To me, gentle was just another word for soft, weak, or pushover. I didn’t want to be soft or weak or a pushover. I wanted to be strong, confident, assured.

I’ve wondered why gentleness is included as a gift of the Spirit (see Galations 5:22-23), and why the Bible encourages us to pursue gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11), to clothe ourselves in gentleness (Colossians 3:12), and to let our gentleness be evident to all (1 Peter 3:15).

And then I am reminded that a gentle answer deflects anger (Proverbs 15:1) and that a gentle tongue can break a bone (Proverbs 25:15).

Break a bone? That’s some metaphor. And I was worried about gentleness being weak?

There is power in gentleness.

And tonight I am reminded once again that there is power in gentleness because God is gentle.* He is kind and tolerant and patient.

That’s gentleness.

So I choose to embrace gentleness, grateful that God’s character is being shaped in me.

* Thank you to Sarah Siders. Check out her post here.

2 thoughts on “When ‘gentle’ doesn’t feel like a compliment

  1. Thankyou Ann, great thoughts.
    I’m reminded by what you’ve written of the theme of meekness: I once heard someone speak about Jesus’ meekness being all about restraint: when Jesus held all power he could have told the soldiers which one struck him, could come down from the cross just to prove the point, but didn’t. Instead he showed restraint and through that restraint, secured the salvation of all who call him Lord. And because we can learn to do this too (demonstrate gentelness, meekness) – by the grace of God even in the face of anger and aggression – God’s power and gentleness can be evident in us and through us. Luke

    Like

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