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This is the fourth in a series of post on the beatitudes, here are the other posts in this series:
Matthew 5:5 says:
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
So basically, what you’re saying is, Jesus wants Christians to be a bunch of sissies, right?
To be “meek” means to be “weak” and “passive” and “introverted,” right?
“Meek” as it is translated in the English Standard Version and others is sometimes translated as “gentle.” Both words represent the original meaning well.
The saying goes, “Meekness is not weakness,” and it’s true to some extent, but I actually think meekness inevitably makes you weak to some extent.
Meekness, or gentleness, is not as welcome in our culture today as we’d like it to be, is it?
Think about the business world for a second. How far does gentleness get you in the business world? Let me tell you: not that far. While you’re busy being gentle, the cutthroat, rule-bending, loudmouth may very well get that promotion over you because to many, it looks like he’s got a backbone and you don’t.
Think about the sports world. The Super Bowl is this weekend. Between the Seahawks and the Patriots, how many people do you think are known as gentle or meek, outside of when they’re rocking their children to sleep? I am a pretty gentle guy. I tried playing high school football for a couple years. It didn’t go very well.
Gentleness is unwelcome, especially for men, in a number of ways in our culture.
In many spheres, it is the brash, the loud, the harsh, who claw their way to “success.” To think gentleness is weak is ultimately wrong, but truthfully, it does make us weaker sometimes.
Unfortunately, meekness often means sacrificing present power in our pursuit of eternal strength. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Too few people hold gentleness in high regard.
So, in a way, meekness is weakness, but I don’t think it stops there.
Meekness translate to a strength we may not often think of that is highly-regarded in our culture.
Kent Hughes hits the nail on the head again in his commentary on this idea. He writes that meekness is “strength under control,” citing William Barclay. Hughes continues, “The meek person is strong! He is gentle, meek, and mild, but he is in control. He is as strong as steel.”
One of the main facets of meekness that Hughes latches on to is “self-control” and I love this idea.
Meekness is knowing you can unleash your strength to gain an unethical advantage at work, but controlling yourself out of love for others and Christ.
Meekness is not punching someone who insults your wife because, while you have every right to do so, Jesus probably wouldn’t.
Meekness is holding the keys to to victory and deciding when its achieved.
Meekness is possessing immense power and unleashing it with grace and wisdom.
This beatitude is almost directly quoted from Psalm 37:11, which says, “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace,” which was almost certainly an intentional quote by Christ.
A lack of control shows a lack of trust. Those who trust the Lord to act on their behalf control anger, rage, and power, knowing God is good and just.
Meekness may appear to be weakness, and it may be in certain scenarios, but the meek shall inherit the earth, which is better than any vengeance not realized or promotion not fought for.
Meekness requires us to not unleash power sometimes. Whether we want to physically break something, emotionally wreck someone, or pray some sort of curse on someone, meekness requires us to relinquish some power and trust God to act in accordance with who he is.
The meek must find value in trading power for promise.
Jesus says that the meek “shall inherit the earth.”
Forget the job promotion you want to lie about in order to achieve.
Forget the guy you wanna punch for making fun of your wife.
Trade your power for God’s promise.
Pass up on the opportunity to get revenge because there’s something better waiting for you in eternity.
We have a lot of power, don’t we? Whether you’re strong, or rich, or influential, or beautiful, or loud, you have some sort of power.
Sometimes, though, we have to hold back a bit, not act on our power as much as we’d like, and trust that the Lord is in control of the situation.
This gentleness, this meekness, leads to an inheritance promised by God that no amount of justice or promotion can provide.
How can you be gentle or meek today? What power can you control a bit better? Are there words you want to say to someone you shouldn’t? Are there emails you want to send you shouldn’t?
Know the power you have. Use the power when necessary to reflect Christ. Withhold the power when necessary to trust Christ.
The meek are blessed, and they shall inherit the earth.