IN the fast pace of today's world, we may forget to be gentle. We may even forget how important it is to be gentle. It may be easy to see why integrity, strength, and intelligence are important to success. Or that love, honesty, and forgiveness are needed. Gentleness, however, doesn't always receive much attention. Perhaps it is considered a speciality of ``softies'' but not suitable for those who are ``serious'' and more tough-minded about what they do. Some may wonder, What difference does it make whether things are done gently as long as they get done?
Gentleness actually makes a big difference in our lives. Gentleness is not just ``nice'' but is also surprisingly effective -- in getting things done efficiently and in maintaining peaceful, loving relationships. On a deeper level, gentleness is part of man's true spiritual nature as the child of God.
I learned about gentleness in a job I had. I'm a Christian Scientist, and one of my goals is to be a better follower of Christ Jesus. At the time I had this job, I saw that I needed to be more gentle in order to draw more closely to Jesus' example. I began to pray and to try to do everything more gently.
I was really surprised to discover how ungentle I'd been! Without realizing it, as I'd hurried to do things quickly and (I thought) efficiently, I had been dropping things, having to start over and do things more than once. This hurried approach had also made me less considerate of others.
As I tried to be more Christlike and seriously practiced being gentle, I was more poised and happy. Also, I was surprised to find that being gentle actually helped me get my work done quicker and better! The richest rewards lay far beyond more efficiently earning my paycheck, however. In striving to be gentle I had to be free of anger, aggression, and apathy. I began to feel closer to God. And I found I was able to help and comfort others.
As I've thought about gentleness, I've come to see that the power that lies behind it is actually God. Christian Science reveals that God is Principle, the infinite source of good and peace and joy. The Bible speaks of God as our tender Father-Mother, the loving Shepherd caring for His flock -- us. Since gentleness comes from God, it carries with it divine power. And because gentleness has its source in God, as we're more gentle we feel closer to God and can increasingly express His loving power.
I certainly was not the first to discover God's loving, tender nature or the power of gentleness! The author of II Samuel in the Bible says of God, ``Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.'' In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Tenderness accompanies all the might imparted by Spirit.'' And in one of her poems, ``The Mother's Evening Prayer,'' she describes God's presence in these words: ``O gentle presence, peace and joy and power....''
Our ability to be gentle comes from God. In reality, man is not a discordant, violent, or clumsy mortal. Man is actually the spiritual reflection of God, Soul. As the reflection of Soul, the real man is naturally gentle.
As we understand this better and practice our inherent gentleness, we'll find ourselves happier and more peaceful. We'll also find ourselves increasingly able to do what we need to do. Most important, we'll feel closer to God and find ourselves more able to express the power of divine Love to bring healing to daily life.