More Like Jesus: Reflections on Gentleness and Joy

January 28, 2020

by Peter Amsterdam

In this seventh part of the “More Like Jesus—Reflections” series, I’m sharing quotations about two topics, gentleness and joy, which are both aspects of being Christlike, of reflecting the Lord to others.


“In our rough and rugged individualism, we think of gentleness as weakness, being soft and virtually spineless. Not so! Gentleness includes such enviable qualities as having strength under control, being calm and peaceful when surrounded by a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those who may be angry or otherwise beside themselves, and possessing tact and gracious courtesy that causes others to retain their self-esteem and dignity.”―Charles R. Swindoll

“A Christian reveals true humility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others, by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and ennoble the most sacred message that has come to our world.”―Ellen G. White

“Gentleness is strength under control. It is the ability to stay calm, no matter what happens.”―Elizabeth George

“If you would fall into any extreme, let it be on the side of gentleness. The human mind is so constructed that it resists rigor, and yields to softness.”―St. Francis de Sales

“The great mind knows the power of gentleness.”―Robert Browning

“There is not a person we employ who does not, like ourselves, desire recognition, praise, gentleness, forbearance, patience.”―Henry Ward Beecher

“Try to exercise gentleness, kindness and humour, and you cannot go far wrong.”―Sophie Winkleman

“Gentleness is the ability to bear reproaches and slights with moderation, and not to embark on revenge quickly, and not to be easily provoked to anger, but to be free from bitterness and contentiousness, having tranquility and stability in the spirit.”―Aristotle

“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.”—Leo Buscaglia

“True meekness may be a quality of the strong, those who could assert themselves but choose not to do so.”―Leon Morris

“Harshness is conquered by gentleness, hatred by love, lethargy by zeal, and darkness by light.”―Mahatma Gandhi

“Gentleness succeeds better than violence.”—Jean de La Fontaine

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”―St. Francis de Sales

“The true problem of living is to keep our hearts sweet and gentle in the hardest conditions and experiences.”―Bill Vaughan

“Never, never is it possible to reach someone if you become angry or bitter, only love and gentleness can do it. Maybe not this time but maybe the next or the hundredth time.”―Cesar Chavez

“Gentleness is not apathy but is an aggressive expression of how we view people. We see people as so valuable that we deal with them in gentleness, fearing the slightest damage to one for whom Christ died. To be apathetic is to turn people over to mean and destructive elements, to truly love people cause for us to be aggressively gentle.”―Gayle D. Erwin

“More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.”—Charlie Chaplin

“It’s so easy to laugh,
It’s so easy to hate,
It takes guts to be gentle and kind.”
Steven Morrissey

“Jesus never mistreated anyone just because they mistreated Him. He confronted them in a spirit of gentleness and then continued to love them.”―Joyce Meyer

“There is great force hidden in a gentle command.”―George Herbert

“Gentleness and kindness will make our homes a paradise upon earth.”―C. A. Bartol

“When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.”―Saint Francis de Sales

“A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.“―William Hazlitt

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”―Mahatma Gandhi

“The higher people are in the favor of God, the more tender they are.”―Martin Luther

“Rudeness, yelling, anger, and swearing are a weak man’s imitation of strength.”―Unknown

“If zeal had been appropriate for putting humanity right, why did God the Word clothe himself in the body, using gentleness and humility in order to bring the world back to his Father?”―Isaac of Nineveh

“Gentleness is the antidote for cruelty.”―Phaedrus

“The greatest strength a man can achieve is gentleness.”―Monty Roberts

“Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manner.”―Hugh Blair

“We must truly serve those whom we appear to command; we must bear with their imperfections, correct them with gentleness and patience, and lead them in the way to heaven.”―Francois Fenelon

“Gentleness is not weakness. Just the opposite. Preserving a gentle spirit in a heartless world takes extraordinary courage, determination, and resilience. Do not underestimate the power of gentleness, because gentleness is strength wrapped in peace, and therein lies the power to change the world.”―L. R. Knost

“I choose gentleness … Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.”—Max Lucado


“There is no virtue in the Christian life which is not made radiant with joy; there is no circumstance and no occasion which is not illuminated with joy. A joyless life is not a Christian life, for joy is one constant recipe for Christian living.”―William Barclay

“There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this is it, and there is no other.”―St. Augustine

“Be good; keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.”―Thomas Merton

“The root of joy is gratefulness … It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”―Brother David Steindl-Rast

“Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”—Helen Keller

“If you can’t find joy in the path you are on and what you are working toward now, how do you expect to find joy once you get there?”―Unknown

“When the Christian praises and gives thanks to God, this not only pleases God, but it enriches the Christian’s life with joy.”―Rick Warren

“Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be filled with joy.”―Unknown

“The reality is that this is how you know if you're getting closer to God: more kindness, more gentleness, more joy, more peace, more patience.”―Matt Brown

“When our lives are filled with peace, faith, and joy, people will want to know what we have.”―David Jeremiah

“There’s nothing more contradictory than an unenthusiastic Christian. The Bible tells us that God loves us so much, in fact, that God gave his only son so that all who believe in him will have everlasting life. Nothing, not even death, can separate us from God’s love! If we really believe that, we can’t help but overflow with joy!”―Ronald Newhouse

“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”―Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“You will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.”―Helen Keller

“A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.”―Mother Teresa

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”―Marianne Williamson

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”―Henri Nouwen

“Joy is a choice based on being content regardless of circumstances. Understanding what encourages joy in your life can help you cultivate it and build up your resources for when circumstances are difficult.”―M. Ahlers

“Joy has nothing to do with material things, or with a man’s outward circumstance ... a man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched, and a man in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy.”―William Barclay

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”―Mother Teresa

“If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”―Billy Sunday

“Scatter joy!”―Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you're a follower of Jesus, joy should be a way of life. Why? You've been completely forgiven—no guilt, no shame, no remorse, and no regrets. God has wiped them all out. Sounds like a good reason for joy to me.”―Rick Warren

“The most beautiful moments in life are moments when you are expressing your joy, not when you are seeking it.”―Jaggi Vasudev

“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”―Russell M. Nelson

“For the Christian, joy in God is available at all times, in any situation.”―Wayne Davies

“Pray for your ability to share your joy with others and be a light in this world.”―Kathryn Shirey

“Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition.”―Dwight L. Moody

“Find joy in the journey.”―Unknown

“Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God.”―Sam Storms

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”―Richard Wagner

“No one can get joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.”―Henry Drummond

“How divinely full of glory and pleasure shall that hour be when all the millions of mankind that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God shall meet together and stand around Him, with every tongue and every heart full of joy and praise! How astonishing will be the glory and the joy of that day when all the saints shall join together in one common song of gratitude and love, and of everlasting thankfulness to this Redeemer! With what unknown delight, and inexpressible satisfaction, shall all that are saved from the ruins of sin and hell address the Lamb that was slain, and rejoice in His presence!”―Isaac Watts