I recently read a blog post on gentleness, and it made me curious. What does gentle mean? Was my definition of gentle an accurate one? And this is what I found.
Quiet and refined in manners; not rough, harsh, or stern; mild; meek; bland; amiable; tender; as a gentle nature, temper or disposition; a gentle manner; a gentle address; a gentle voice.
That was pretty much the way I would have defined it. But the post also made me think about people that I would define as gentle. Well there was my dad, of course, there is Jesus, that's another given, and then it came to me the person that defines gentle to me is actually a fictional character. He's the character John Coffey from The Green Mile.
Remember him? The huge man who was convicted of killing children. The huge man who had an incredible ability. The huge man with the huge hands. They were actually the gentle hands. You see he could heal people. He never announced his gift to anyone. In fact he never announced that he was falsely convicted. John was good natured. His was a huge man, but he choose to be gentle.
As I reread the definition of gentle, I thought to myself that we often view a person who is gentle as someone who is easy to push around. But this isn't true. A gentle person has the wisdom to know what is in their control and what isn't. The character of John Coffey is falsely convicted of killing two little girls. All of the proof points to him. He knows that he didn't do it, he accepts that he can't change this. But this doesn't change him. He remains a person who treats people well. He has that inner knowledge that just because someone is treating him wrong, that it's not right for him to treat others poorly. In fact he actually helps the individuals who are going to punish him for the crime he didn't commit.
But John Coffey had a sense of justice. He saw when there was something that he could do about a situation that was wrong. And he took the opportunity. You see the gentle person has the wisdom to know that people take notice when the they decide to change something. Things happen when the gentle person says something is wrong. So I guess my point with this post is that society often sees gentleness as a weakness in a person. But the truth is the gentle person is actually strength tempered with wisdom.
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