The Proverbs tell us that “A soft answer turns away wrath.” If we are aggressive and yell about something, we stir things up. But if we are able to be gentle and speak with a soft voice, it tends to quiet things down.
Our Lord was a gentle person and wherever He went there was a spirit of tranquility and calm. The people knew Him as someone who was mild-mannered and used a soft voice. In fact Jesus refers to Himself this way in Matthew 11:28-29. He says, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.” What we learn from Jesus is how to create a restful atmosphere by being meek and lowly in heart.
The word “meek” is a Greek word that actually means “to be mild and gentle.” In fact, the newer translations of the Bible (like the New King James version and the English Standard version) translate it this way: They say “…for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” To be gentle means that you are thoughtful toward other people and careful about how you treat them.
We have animals and birds at the Holy Land Experience here in Orlando, and there is a very special lady who takes care of them. The other day she was showing me some newborn doves, and she put one of them in my hand. Then she said, “Gentle, now – they are very fragile.” So I was very careful how I handled them.
Well, people are like that, too. They are sensitive and fragile (yes, even when they show a tough exterior), so we need to be mild mannered, soft spoken, and gentle like Jesus. And you know what? That creates an atmosphere of calm and rest. Things are peaceful when we are mild-mannered and soft spoken. So, be like Jesus. Don’t stir things up. Be gentle and mild “…and you shall find rest to your souls.”
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Here is an important point to remember: To be gentle is not the same as being weak. Actually, it is the ultimate demonstration of strength.