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Powerful reminders about gentleness

little scrap of paper with a note scribbled on it had been unnoticed on my desk for a long time. Then one day I happened to find it.

It was a reminder of something I had seen somewhere: “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

As I looked at that old note written in almost illegible handwriting, I became curious; and at once, I began to search for information about the source of those words.

After some searching, I found their origin. Those words were written about 55 or 56 A.D. to a small group who lived in Philippi, a city in eastern Macedonia in the region between the Strymon River on the west and the Nestos River on the east.

At once, I realized that old as those words are, they are a powerful reminder of an important fact that is exceedingly relevant for today: gentleness is important, for it has to do with how we relate to all of those around us in everyday life.

There is more than one way to understand gentleness, so those words can be easily misunderstood.

In one sense, gentleness can mean weakness, for something possessing gentleness can be tender, fragile and easily broken. But in another sense, gentleness can have a more profound meaning.

It can mean that an individual is tender hearted and sensitive to the feelings of others; therefore that individual is sympathetic and compassionate in all relationships with those with whom the individual associates on a daily basis.

Some anonymous individual left these words, “Tenderness involves humility and thoughtfulness along with politeness and restrained behavior.”

I will always remember my father as a man with gentleness. Yet at the same time, he was firm with me, and he expected certain things from me.

Another anonymous individual said, “Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch.” That individual went on to say, “It is a tender, compassionate approach toward others.”

Gentleness at its best is always accompanied by firmness for that which is right.

Howard Coop is a retired minister, author and religion columnist that contributes regularly to The Jessamine Journal and other newspapers. He resides in Lancaster and can be reached at howardcooop@kudu4u.com.