Virtue of the Week: Gentleness

The way to overcome the angry person is with gentleness, the evil person with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.Indian Proverb

More Thoughts on Gentleness

Mike and Amy Nappa

First, let us consider others interacting with us:

  • Do you prefer when someone talks to you calmly and gently, or when they yell at you or speak aggressively at you? People respond better to gentleness in speech.
  • Do you prefer when someone shakes your hand that they do so gently and firmly or as tight as they can squeeze? People respond better to gentleness in touch.
  • Do you prefer when someone handles your property with care and gentleness or just throws it around and slams it into things? People prefer that others treat their property gently.
  • Do you prefer when someone is waiting for you that they wait patiently or persistently try to hurry you up? People prefer others to wait patiently when they are trying to get something done.
  • Do you prefer when someone is walking near you that they stomp around applying excessive force or that they try to walk lightly? People prefer a courteous light walking.
  • Do you prefer when someone is helping you with a problem that they patiently work with you trying to understand your difficulties and help you with them, or that they insult you putting you down for your shortcomings? People prefer loving assistance.
  • Would you rather be around someone who is gentle or someone who is not?

Now let us consider our own actions with others and with things:

  • How do I treat my family? Am I patient with them or demanding all the time? Do I respect their wants and likes, or do I force my way on my family? Am I considerate of my family in my home? Do I avoid talking to myself so that I do not disturb members of my family?
  • How do I treat my co-workers? Am I patient with them or demanding all the time? Do I treat them with respect? Do I treat them with abruptness, like my time is much more valuable then theirs?
  • How do I treat other people in my community? Am I patient and gentle with others that I meet, whether in stores, in cars, in church parking lots, in restaurants, at school, at meetings, at sports events, etc.? Do I treat them with respect?
  • How do I treat property? Does it vary by whether it is my property or someone else’s? Do I treat property with care or just throw it around? Do I consider my property just on loan from God at the present moment?
  • Being gentle does not lessen men or women, rather it is a true characteristic of manhood and womanhood. Great men and women tend to be gentle.

Treating people with gentleness shows them that we value and respect them. Likewise treating things with gentleness, we show others that we want to take care of what with we have been entrusted and that we desire to leave it to others in good condition.

Gentleness is a way of life, showing our love in how we interact with people and things. Like any way of life, gentleness has to be practiced for us to become more gentle. If we want to become more gentle, we must take active steps, that is:

  1. choosing to be more gentle
  2. keeping this resolution in mind
  3. acting in gentleness
  4. catching ourselves when we are not gentle so that we can be more aware of our gentleness or lack of gentleness in the future.

It’s true that we live in a harsh world, but it’s also true that gentleness invades that harshness with its own kind of beauty. We see it in the way a mother cradles a newborn baby, in the eyes of a father roughhousing with a preschooler, in the silence of a setting sun, in the affectionate caress of a lifetime lover and friend, in the peace that settles during an anxious prayer, and in a thousand ways more. Yes, gentleness is invading our world today. The only question is whether or not you’ve joined the revolution.