Gentleness: What Does It Mean

Duckling by dan (freedigitalphotos.net)

When I think about gentleness my mind instantly goes to the movie The Princess Bride.  In one scene, Wesley is recovering from being “mostly dead” when the love of his life, Buttercup, finds him.  She grabs a hold of him and pulls him close to hug him.  He says, “Gently, gently.”

It makes us think of a light touch, a softness, like the downy feathers of a duckling.

Throughout this month, we’ll be looking at the topic of gentleness more clearly.  To get the ball rolling, even the squeezably soft ball, let’s look at the meaning of gentleness and how other people use it in their lives.

Gentleness:

the quality, or state of being gentle; especially mildness of manners or disposition.

With this definition, I had to look up “gentle” too.

Gentle:

1. a. belonging to a family of high social station

     b. chivalrous

     c. honorable, distinguished.

     d. kind, amiable

     e. suited to a person of high social station.

2. a. tractable, docile

     b. free from harshness, sternness, or violence.

3. soft, delicate

4. moderate

Far from a squooshy sensation, gentleness has a depth to it.  It’s standards are high, yet its approach is courteous.  The digger in me needed to know more, so I searched for synonyms and antonyms to further comprehend this word.

Synonyms: benign, bland, careful, caution, courtesy, delicate, intentional mildness, kindness, light, meekness, mellow, mercifulness, mild, obedience, nonabrasive, soft, soothing, tender .

Antonyms: bad manners, caustic, harsh, hard, pompousness, rough, rudeness, scathing, stern, violent, unkind, wild.

Are you beginning to understand this word better?

Within the Bible it is used to describe God Himself using a Hebrew word which could also be translated to mean meekness or humility.  It also describes how God can help us to grow by giving it to us as a gift, a spiritual gift.  The Greek word used can also be translated as useful, excellent, good or kind.

To better understand how we view this complicated word, I found some famous quotes on the topic.

  • “Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.”~Mahatma Gandhi
  • “I choose gentleness… Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.” ~ Max Lucado
  • “Oh! that gentleness! how far more potent is it than force!” ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • “You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship. Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness.” ~ Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
  • “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize.  The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others.  Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid puting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.” ~ Lao Tzu
  • “Gentleness towards self and others makes life a little lighter.” ~ Deborah Day, BE HAPPY NOW!
  • “Gentleness doesn’t get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.” ~ Coco Chanel

Had you read these quotes previously? Which one connected with your mind today?

Which description of gentleness caught your eye? 

Bookmark and Share
About Paula Whidden

Wife, mom, author, speaker, former full-time youth and children's pastor turned stay-at-home-mom. Paula created www.FaithfulChoices.com to help people see and understand how our choices affect our destination in life, in marriage, in parenting and in social media. Paula wrote "25 Days 'Til Christ: An Advent Devotional for the Family" now available on Amazon.com. She is currently working on her second book to strengthen marriages.

Speak Your Mind

*