Gentleness (clemency). God's gentleness is his grace, goodness and mercy and favors proceeding therefrom. It applies to mildness of disposition. It often permits intrigues. It is opposed to harshness, severity, pride, violence and oppression. It makes one unwilling to cause unhappiness or pain. Gentleness prompts us to relieve want, overlook injury, restrain unkind feelings, soften severe judgement and correct ungracious manners. It is evidence of refinement. It is the dove-like influence that broods over and becomes guardian of one's kindly inclinations.
____________________________________________A sobering thought struck me as I was walking with my eldest daughter the other morning. Womankind has lost one of her most persuasive, refining traits - the trait of gentleness. In our current culture, women are encouraged to be aggressive. They stand up for their rights and confront problems head-on, making no excuses. If their children, their husband, their boss or even the sales clerk step out of line, they are quick to point out the error and demand immediate, contrite rectification. They are commonly known as hags, nags, witches, harpies and any other number of unflattering euphemisms. Women have gone from bringing out the best in mankind to bringing out the worst.
I, too, am guilty. I have taken it upon myself to yell at my children (and even my husband) when they don't immediately take action when I have spoken. I have said unkind things and reacted with an angry tongue when I am frustrated. I have been selfish and self-centered, wanting the best all to myself. I have been less than a gentlewoman. But, I have been wrong.
I grew up raising horses. I spent innumerable hours in the saddle and on the ground, training, training, training. One thing that was instinctive, especially when dealing with a scared or unmanageable horse, was gentleness. When a horses nostril flared and a wild look came into their eye, the first thing I did was lower my voice, talk soothingly and very gently stroke their face, neck and shoulder. I whispered softly, moved slowly, and spoke to my charge of their strengths and unmatched character. With undemanding gentleness, I would bring my steed back to a place of reason and from there, we would move to the task at hand, steady and strong. Gentleness was my unfailing friend.
What a different outcome there would have been had I not been trained in gentleness. Had I yelled at a wild eyed horse, I may very well have been trampled. Had I hit a scared animal, the consequences may have been dire. Most certainly, I would not have gained the confidence of the animal I was working with and would never have had the opportunity to guide that horse to its full potential.
Therein lies the key. Gentleness. When I respond to my husband, my children or any person in my life with gentleness, I have the opportunity to speak into their lives. A gentle word can turn away wrath and change the outcome of an argument. A soothing voice can calm an explosive situation.
Throughout history, women have been a calming, refining influence. Their gentleness and grace elevated mankind, bringing forth the best qualities while discouraging the base. Men have been willing to fight and die on blood filled moors to defend their gentlewomen of honor.
Are we those same women? Do we elevate our men and our children? Are we a calming, gentling influence or does our very presence ignite strife? To be a gentlewoman is to be a woman of persuasion, of influence.
Ladies, we can change our world. Through our gentleness and grace we can change the course of our history. Our gentle words can turn away wrath and our humility and grace can guide the feet of our children. We may not be able to reform our country but we can reform our families. Oh, to be a gentlewoman.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
Proverbs 14 & 15