Recently, our local newspaper printed a tribute to a businessman who had passed away. The writer spoke of him as "a gentle giant" who "loved life and whose genuine joy of living laced the inflections of his speech." He also loved people and "maintained a powerful loyalty to his family and his employees."
This tribute reminded me of what David said as he praised God: "Thy gentleness hath made me great" (II Sam. 22:36). David attributed gentleness to God, the divine Spirit, who is the Life and creator of all of us. Even though it may seem unusual for a successful man to be called gentle, such examples prove that love, kindness, and generosity are decidedly natural qualities. We can scan society and find shining symbols of how divine Love is actually expressing itself everywhere.
God's nature is often reflected in simple, ordinary ways. A woman comforts a lost child in the supermarket and unites her with her mother. A clerk runs to catch a customer who has left his wallet on the counter. Someone holds a door or gives directions. Though these happenings may seem minor, they indicate a continuity of good throughout the universe. Gentle, loving acts hint at a spiritual fact: we are each truly God's likeness, made to express only good.
Gentleness is impelled by God, and has healing power. Many years ago a man responded to a woman's long-standing need for physical healing after she simply touched his clothes. This gentle man, Christ Jesus, reassured the trembling woman by saying, "Daughter, be of good comfort." She was healed from that moment (see Luke 8:43-48). Again and again, the Bible shows that the Christian Saviour's gentle, powerful love healed both sin and sickness.
Every day, you and I have opportunities to express this love. Perhaps those nearest us need tenderness more than we realize. For example, when our son divorced and remarried, he lived miles away from us and seemed out of reach personally. I prayed to know that God is the source of love. I wanted to realize the truth of this fact, specifically in family relationships. I trusted the scriptural truth that Spirit made us, and that reflecting God Himself, we are spiritual. Also that all God's children can be seen to express His wonderful qualities, including the ability to respond to unconditional love.
I checked my own thoughts. Was there any tendency to withdraw from others because I was too busy? Or to ignore them because they might resist my offering? In an effort to keep myself aware that God's love was ever active and universally expressed, I tried to be more gentle in my home, on the highway, and in stores.
As I expressed more interest in the activities of other people, I saw how gentleness softens situations, spans cultural gaps, and cultivates friendships that we wouldn't have known otherwise. After a few months of this prayer in action, I received a long letter from my daughter-in-law that ended with these words: "I feel I know you enough to know that you are an understanding and loving person. This letter may give you more insight about my family and me."
Then she asked me to write to her young son, who was in prison. This trust and communication was the result of praying to understand that no one is excluded from God's limitless, gentle love.
The Monitor's founder wrote about the love of God: "Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions .... I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results.... Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power. As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows;... the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Miscellaneous Writings," Pg. 250).
As we express more gentleness, our lives become richer, deeper, more interactive, and more unselfish. Being gentle makes life great!