"By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you" (2 Corinthians 10:1).
Others had leveled some serious charges against Paul, and Paul wanted above all else to answer the charges in a Christ-like spirit of quietness, patience and compassion, mindful not so much of his own honor as that of Christ's. He wanted to be the Gentle Man's gentleman in dealing with those who would make Paul less than he knew he should be.
"When they hurled their insults at [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats" (1 Peter 2:23); ". . .Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. . ." (Matthew 11:29). Gentleness is active and exhibited in the temperament we tender to others; meekness is passive and within our inner spirit; it is the temper of spirit in which we accept God's dealings with us without challenging His purposes or impugning wrong motives to others.
Had Jesus been Judge and Jury while on this imperfect earth and had He exacted His pound of flesh from those who misjudged His actions and motives, then we could extract our ounce of judgment from those who wound our pride. As it is, Jesus wants us to leave the sentencing to Him. The bonus for us is good mental and physical health, for "Gentle words cause life and health. . ." (Proverbs 15:4 TLB).
Society is not always kind to the gentle people. Sometimes the soft answer invites ridicule, but it is kindness that finally wins. It is the destructive forces that howl for our attention: the earthquake, the tornado, the angry voices that foretell of disaster. But it is the gentle shower, quiet and unassuming, that makes fruitful the land, and it is the peaceful and tender people of the earth who forge constructive relationships and worthwhile lives.