Another great find by my wife Jill, and one that I need to remember each day…
“But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” Psalm 37:11
The word meek does not have a positive connotation in our culture. It suggests many things, none of which are very appealing. If you tell someone you think he is meek, he will probably not take it as a compliment. In fact, he will probably think you are implying something negative about his character.
A quick check of the thesaurus bears this out. Here are some listed synonyms for “meek”: humble, docile, mild, calm, gentle, peaceful, tame, submissive, soft, spineless, passive, and broken. Some of those words are positive; others are not. Another source lists the following phrases as illustrative of meekness: “to eat dirt,” “to lick the dust,” “to cringe like a dog,” “to take it on the chin.”
That graphically illustrates the problem. Just try sticking some of those words and phrases in the third beatitude (Matthew 5:5) and see what you get.
“Blessed are the spineless, for they will inherit the earth.” It doesn’t sound right, does it?
Or how about, “Blessed are those who cringe like a dog.” It’s hard to imagine Jesus (or anyone else) saying that.
It’s no wonder that we don’t want to be called meek. I wouldn’t either, if that’s what the word really meant. None of us likes to be bullied. We’d all rather be loved. We tend to value tough, strong, assertive leaders.
The biblical concept of meekness means having your power under God’s control. During a radio interview I was asked to explain meekness as it applies to being a Christian man in today’s world. That was not the first time I’ve been asked that question. I think many men would not feel complimented if someone called them “meek.” Yet the interviewer pointed out that Jesus used that very word to describe Himself in Matthew 11:29 (KJV). It seems to me that If Jesus felt comfortable calling Himself “meek” (or “gentle” in some translations, including the NIV), we shouldn’t have a big problem with it.
And after all, Jesus was no pushover. The same Jesus who embraced the children also took a whip and cleaned out the temple. Say what you will about it, but don’t call Him a sissy. When He confronted sin, He was gentle like a tornado is gentle. But when the moment called for it, He could be tender and forgiving.
Gentleness is not weakness. It is our power under God’s control. It is the ability to give of ourselves to help the hurting while at the same time confronting evil whenever necessary. That’s a tough combination, but our Lord pulled it off without a hitch.
Holy Spirit, make me like Jesus that my power might be fully under God’s control.