Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Strength of Gentleness

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness;
nothing is so gentle as real strength."
~ Ralph W. Sockman

The Strength of Gentleness

"Gentleness" is the translation of the Greek word praótēs. I thought its definition so lovely and sufficient a description of the Holy Spirit's fruit that I offer it here for the blog carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley. (Be sure to visit her site for more on gentleness.)

praótēs (fem. noun from práos, meek): Meekness, mildness, forbearance. Primarily it does not denote outward expression of feeling, but an inward grace of the soul, calmness toward God in particular. It is the acceptance of God's dealings with us considering them as good in that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him... Meekness does not blame God for the persecutions and evil doings of men. It is not the result of weakness ... According to Aristotle, praótēs is that virtue [which] stands between two extremes: uncontrolled and unjustified anger; and not becoming angry at all no matter what [evil] takes place around you.*

* Definition from The Complete Word Study Dictionary, General Editor: Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., © 1992 By AMG International, Inc.
Image source:


  1. Anne, that picture is worth far more than the proverbial 1,000 words. There's an entire story in that poignant image. My heart goes out to the injured child, but what is so striking is the soldier's reaction. Wow! You chose the ideal photo to illustrate "the strength of gentleness."

  2. That picture says so much, but your words are just as powerful. Thanks for this, Anne.

  3. This entire post is so precious, love you.

  4. That picture is Christ-like behavior exemplified. I'm sure he didn't realize the world could be watching, which is a good example for us to live a Christ-like "gentle" life at all times because the Lord who created the world IS watching and knows our heart. I long to be like Christ and that man in the photo. What a great thing to strive for.

  5. Gentleness - the idea of "inward grace." Deep one there, Anne. Good post.

  6. "An inward grace of the soul"...ah to be described in that way!

    Sending love,

  7. ohhh...that last part from Aristotle, acknowledging that gentleness is above apathy but below uncontrolled anger - so true.

  8. I never thought of gentleness being more of an inward grace of the soul ~ especially toward God. What else could be shown outwardly if inwardly there is gentleness? Enjoyed thinking about this.

  9. Great quote with the picture.

  10. quote:
    It is the acceptance of God's dealings with us considering them as good in that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him... Meekness


  11. This was very interesting and well said.

  12. I like this line...
    "It is the acceptance of God's dealings with us considering them as good in that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him."
    Thanks for sharing!

  13. "Nothing is so strong as gentleness;
    nothing is so gentle as real strength." I love this quote!

  14. You are right- this is a deep and thought-provoking definition. Thanks Anne.

  15. Keli ~ One of the things I like about the photo is that no one's face is showing. The child's face is sheltered in his pain, and the soldier's face is sheltered because he placed giving comfort above receiving recognition.

    Bridget ~ Thanks, but I can't take credit for the words. I was only an editor today.

    Denise ~ Thank you. I thought the elements I compiled spoke for themselves.

    T ~ You make an excellent point. What if part of heaven is showing us that all the moments when we acted like this was recorded, and we're shown the photos? (Likewise, what if the not so great moments are recorded ...)

    Glynn ~ If it's not from inward grace, then I think it may be not so much gentleness as well-dressed apathy.

    Wendy ~ And it's beautiful on you, dear. Love you too. :D

    Kelly ~ Yes. How often do we render the Spirit's fruit sterile by taking it to an extreme?

    Patty ~ This is why I love Bible study. SO much lies beneath the surface, there for the taking.

    Jeff ~ Thanks. Once I found that quote, the whole piece put itself together.

    Bud ~ The Greek word is, I think, a nicely blended balance of meekness and gentleness.

    Duane ~ Why thank you ... Marty. It's gonna be hard for me to make the switch. :)

    Jay ~ I think the core ministry of the Holy Spirit always, ultimately about drawing us more closely to the Lord.

    Kevin ~ Some people say good quotes are tired. I think when something's well said, it's well worth repeating.

    Jason ~ I love the Zodhiates dictionary. Next to the Bible, it's my favorite reading. I'm weird that way ...

  16. Very though provoking. Love the photo... grabbed my heart.

  17. I just commented on aspects of "gentleness" at two different blogs. I'm so glad you included the beautiful definition here, the other terms (such as "meekness") that attach no pejorative meaning.

    "Inward grace of the soul": It's been on display in Oklahoma City, at the Pentagon and New York City on 9/11, certainly in Haiti, also Chile, and it can be found in the remotest regions of Afghanistan, as in the village where one Afghani woman (recently profiled in the Christian Science Monitor, if I recall correctly) created an embroidery circle as a place where other women could gather for a moment or two of peace and in defiance of the Taliban.

  18. inward grace -- very powerful. And the image is stunning and moving and such a gentleness.

    Thank you!

  19. Heart-wrenching picture. Powerful quote. Great lesson. Thanks, Anne.

  20. you've shown us well ... both visually and verbally

  21. Caryjo ~ Yes. That photo does funny things to my heart, too.

    Maureen ~ We think too little of gentleness. That soldier bears the weapons and the training to rebuke unrighteousness, just as Jesus did. The world indeed disdains meekness. Though "meek" may sound like "weak," it is anything but when exercised in the power of the Almighty's Spirit.

    Louise ~ Would you agree that "inward" must apply to every component of the Spirit's fruit before the outward manifestation is genuine?

    Sandra ~ Thank you. If only we will now allow the Lord to work such strength—of His—into all of us.

    Susan ~ From a gentle soul such as yourself, those words mean ever so much.


Your comments are appreciated and you can expect a reply. If Blogger doesn't accept your comment, or if you prefer
another method, I hope you'll respond via Twitter or email
(see sidebar icons or the "Contact Me" tab, above).

(Comments to older posts and will appear after approval.)