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Gentle Hand vs. Iron Fist



My son and I learned how to oil paint by watching Bob Ross videos during the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. Mr. Ross teaches oil painting and makes it easy. Bob Ross is an excellent artist, but he is even more, a masterful teacher. His gentle approach to teaching puts his students at ease. His calm manner makes even the most novice artist comfortable to try oil painting (something I had never dared before). His teaching approach is so successful that it ran on television as the “Joy of Painting” for 403 episodes and 31 seasons from 1983 to 1994 and continues to gain momentum.


Bob Ross is known for his iconic afro and gentle voice, which is a stark contrast to his early days as an Air Force Drill Sergeant, where he had to shout and enforce discipline. Mr. Ross learned firsthand how much more effective a gentle approach is than a harsh one.


Gentleness is the petri dish for genuine relationships and change, as it provides a safe environment for vulnerability. Gentleness draws us in and makes us willing to try something new instead of being too intimidated to try for fear of failure and criticism.


Jesus is gentle. We learn how to be gentle by following His example. Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law.” These qualities are evidence of God working in our lives. It is not something we muster ourselves but happens naturally as we choose His way over our own.


I have been able to return to my faith time and time again because God is gentle. He accepts me as I am, giving me the courage to own my mistakes and change. If God were harsh, giving me what I sometimes deserve, I think I would be too afraid of His wrath to come close.


God’s gentleness gives us the dignity and courage to change.


Jesus and even Bob Ross inspire me to be gentle in my interactions with others. To look for the good and seek to understand people who think differently than me. My relationships grow from a gentle approach. How have you seen the power of gentleness at work? Please share here.


Never underestimate the power of gentleness; it can change the world.


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