Monday, November 21, 2016

Section 9.10 - Gentleness

Gentleness

When you see the word "gentle", or "gentleness" in the scriptures it is almost always contained within a list of other desirable traits.   However, it is worth considering separately as a desirable leadership trait.  If there were no distinction between gentleness and the apparent synonyms that occur around it like submissive, meek, and humble, then why include it?

First, let's review definition from the Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
GEN'TLENESS, noun
1. Genteel behavior.
2. Softness of manners; mildness of temper; sweetness of disposition; meekness.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness goodness, faith. Galatians 5:22.
3. Kindness; benevolence.
4. Tenderness; mild treatment.
Note how the definition brings to mind different actions than simply being meek, submissive, or humble.  Gentleness is the outward expression of these desirable traits.  For example, read Proverbs 15:1
1. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
A person who is cultivation the desirable leadership quality of gentleness approaches conflict in a significantly different way than those who are not meek, submissive, or humble.

Consider this short list of scriptures that use the word gentle.   What principles related to gentleness do you see in these scriptures?
 24. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (2 Timothy 2:24) 
 2. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. (Titus 3:2) 
 23. And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. (Alma 7:23) 

As the love of those you lead grows, and as you improve the other traits of meekness, humility, and submissiveness, then your interaction with others will become one of the gentleness that the Savior demonstrated.  The ultimate expression of this was evidenced when he asked his Father to forgive his executors (Luke 23:34).

President Thomas S. Monson said:
I would hope that we would strive always to be considerate and to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings and circumstances of those around us. Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person’s confidence through careless words or actions. (Thomas S. Monson, "Love-the Essence of the Gospel", April 2014 LDS General Conference) 

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