2013-10-15 - Meekness
Originally Published 1997-05-02
In today's society, where rights are sometimes the be-all and end-all, meekness is not a popular idea. It's more common to read articles or books, telling us how to get what we deserve, advising us to put ourselves first, affirming pride. And there is of course nothing wrong with healthy self-esteem! However, as American society has a tendency to do, we have taken a good thing and gone to an extreme with it. But that is not Jesus' way. Jesus' way is the way of humility. Jesus' way is the way of sometimes giving up our rights. Jesus' way is the way of true love, which is sacrificial.
Mat 5:5 (NRSV) "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
The word "meek" in this verse is the Greek word "praus" or "praos." In translation, it means: "gentle, mild." This doesn't mean being a doormat. Jesus was assertive when it was needed, e.g. with the money changers. Besides, being a doormat is not good spiritually or emotionally, for the other person! God honors our meekness:
Psa 10:17 (NRSV) O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear.
Think about the way we approach people when we have a difficulty with them, be the person a sales clerk, a coworker, an employee or family member. Do we assume that they meant to do us wrong? Or do we give them the benefit of the doubt, and a chance to explain? When we have something tough to say to someone, do we treat that person with humility, thinking of their feelings before we speak, or do we just blurt out something without thinking first, like "You have no right to (fill in the blank)?"
The best kind of power includes meekness. According to The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1962): "Meekness is a quality of the Messianic King (Zc. 9:9) and the theme of Ps. 37:11, `the meek shall inherit the earth' (av), is repeated by our Lord in the Beatitudes (Mt. 5:5)."
And of course, no one uses His power more perfectly than our Messianic King.
In fact, a truly strong person, because of that strength and security, is free to treat people with meekness. Dr. Jim Long, the late minister of our former church, had a profound saying (I'm not 100% sure whether it was original with him): "Meekness is not weakness; meekness is power submitting to love."
Dear Lord, please help us to be meek as Jesus was. Help us to be, as He instructed us, "wise as serpents and innocent as doves." In Jesus' name, amen.
Janice P. Moser