When you hear the word gentle, you might think of a mother picking up her infant son from a crib. She softly holds him, cradles his head, and moves slowly and doesn’t squeeze him too tight.

You might also think about an archaeologist on a dig, carefully unearthing artifacts with the slow strokes of his delicate instruments.

Now imagine that mother gripping the baby by the leg and dragging him out of the crib like a sack of potatoes. Imagine the archaeologist getting a shovel and chopping hard at the ground around the artifact, smashing against the precious piece of history.

Many people today ridicule the quality of gentleness because our times have been infected with a belligerent spirit, preferring confrontation, the harsh demand, and the merciless fight.

A gentle answer turns anger away. But mean words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1

An argument can easily escalate where a single harsh word can cause an explosion of anger. If that happens, the blast can deal out sorrow and endless regret. But a gentle word, with a feather­-light touch, can remove whatever triggered the explosion. Then those who were arguing can step back, take a breath, and avoid immeasurable damage to their relationship. It is hard to be gentle at times but God has given us peace through his love.

As you face your day, do you prefer harshness? Or is gentleness evident in your words and actions?

Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; Philippians 4:5