Gentle should never mean weak.
Erase that image from your head, and make sure to erase it from the minds of those around you.
I’ll never forget wrestling with my father when I was a boy and even a young man. My dad had some military training, some martial arts training, and years of brawling and fighting behind him. He was stronger than any man I knew.
He definitely showed that strength while we rolled around in the living room floor. He could have crushed my head, snapped a bone, or really seriously hurt me. But he didn’t. He was gentle.
Being gentle is not being weak. It is moderating and controlling strength.
The Allegheny River flowed through our backyard. We were twenty miles from the source, so some would have called it a creek. A very deep swimming hole right on our backyard used to draw young people from town who wanted to cool off in the brown water.
Many of those young people were very disrespectful to my dad’s property, and to my dad himself. He would hear kids cussing or fighting, or catch kids littering or even driving or drugging, and would walk down the river and set them straight. I watched boys and girls day things to my dad that should have been greeted with a smack to the face. But he always kept his cool. He would very firmly ask them to leave. If his eyes got fiery, those kids would scatter. Once in awhile, a young man would need to be physically removed. Dad could have killed them. He never did.
That’s gentleness. That’s a gentleman.