HAPPY: Are the Meek
Updated: Aug 10
Matthew 5:5 KJV - "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Yet Another Contradiction?
Like the first two Beatitudes this third seems to be a contradiction as well. I believe that most people don't think of meekness as attribute to aspire to. In the world the meek are the ones who are targeted by bullies and are often taken advantage of and abused. This stands in contrast to the Biblical understanding of meekness.
"Meekness is NOT Weakness"
I believe that one of the main reasons meekness is seen negatively is because it is associated with weakness, but Meekness is NOT Weakness".
The Nature of Christ
As I've stated before, I believe that in the beatitudes Jesus is teaching a process that, which if endured by a person, produces the character and image of Christ in us. Jesus said this about Himself;
Matthew 11:29 KJV - "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
Jesus Is Meek but He is Not Weak
I've heard the analysis of a Medical Doctor who said that from the biblical description of the beating the Jesus took, before going to the cross, the average person would have slipped into an unconscious state of shock.
Shock is triggered by extreme pain and/or low blood pressure brought on by blood loss. Before going to the cross Jesus was taken to the whipping post where he was merciless beaten. First with a rod, and then with an inhuman instrument of torture called the "Cat of Nine Tails". Cats have extremely sharp claws that easily rip human flesh open. I've wondered if this isn't why the this instrument is associated with them.
First the beating with the rods would cause searing pain while breaking blood vessels and engorging muscle and skin with blood. The skin is effectively tenderized by the beating with the rods. The rods are followed by the Cat of Nine Tails.
The Cat of Nine Tails is a wooden rod with nine leather straps attached to it. Each strap has pieces of iron and bone embedded in them. It was designed to shred and remove the flesh of the person they were beating. As anyone can imagine, this, on top of the beating with rods, brings excruciating pain and blood loss.
The shock and resulting unconsciousness this level of pain and suffering brings is an involuntary defense mechanism outside of the persons control. There is no record that Jesus ever slipped into unconsciousness. He did not allow Himself to go into shock. He remained conscious and aware with no relief from the pain inflicted upon Him.
THIS IS STRENGTH, NOT WEAKNESS!
A Biblical Definition Meekness
The definition, from the underlying Greek word from which the meek is translated, is "mild; by implication humble".
The following definition comes from the "Outline of Biblical Usage" by Larry Pierce.
"Meekness toward God is that Disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore Without Disputing or Resisting. In the Old Testament, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against Injustice. Thus meekness toward Evil People means knowing God is permitting them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time. Gentleness or meekness is the Opposite to Self Assertiveness and Self-interest. It stems from trust in God's Goodness and Control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, not of the Human will."
Meekness, Humility, and Trust
You've probably heard of the trust exercise where one person stands with their back to another person and then is instructed to fall backwards toward the other person whom they cannot see. Which person requires the greatest courage and inner strength? Without question it is the one who has to trust.
Children are among the most vulnerable in the world. One of attributes of a child is their innocence that leads them to trust. Children are hurt everyday in this sinful world because they have not learned to protect themselves by NOT trusting others. Their size and undeveloped strength make them the perfect prey for the most evil among us, and the stories of what these predators do to the innocent strikes fear in the core of our beings.
The longer we live the more walls we build to protect us from being taken advantage of and hurt. All the while, however, we long for relationships where we can trust and let our guards down.
The world views those with the biggest muscles, and greatest fighting and self-defense skills as having the greatest strength. We idolize those who use their strength and skills to protect their self and the things they are interested in. But there is a greater strength than this.
The greatest example of strength the world has ever seen was demonstrated when Jesus was crucified. Jesus was God with all the power of God at His disposal.
Matthew 26:53 KJV - "53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"
This is the meekness that Jesus is talking about. Even though He had the power not only to deliver Himself from the suffering of the cross but unleash retribution upon those who would do Him harm, He did not.
Biblical meekness is controlled power. My Dad called it "Velvet Covered Steel"; a soft outer appearance with a core of steel.
Many in Jesus day, and today for that matter, have no respect for someone who would let themselves be brutalized like Jesus was. But His is the greatest strength of all. Jesus submitted His power and will to the power and will of His Heavenly Father.
God's Idea of Greatness: Repent and Become As a Child
Matthew 18:3-4 KJV - "3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
As Paul said, in his first letter the Corinthian church, "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20). Jesus, in teaching us the pattern prayer, tells to ask the Father that His kingdom would come (to earth). Jesus said that the things that He did we would do also in His name. He enumerated those things: 1) Cast out Demons 2) Speak with New Tongues 3) Take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing it will not hurt them 4) Lay hands on the Sick and they shall Recover.
Jesus says that unless you repent and become as little children we won't enter into this kingdom that is come to earth. This kingdom is a kingdom where the King's power works through His people.
In order for the power of God to work through our lives we must become like a child who depends upon their father for everything they need in life. This requires Meekness, Humility, and Trust.
The last thing in the world we want is a self-serving, self-involved narcissist with access to the nuclear button. We want a person who is committed to doing what is in the best interest of everyone, not only himself.
I think God is looking for people, like Jesus, who can be trusted with His power.
The meek are not weak. The meek are those who submit their power to the will of God. Our power is our will. The process of Embracing our poverty of spirit, or our lack of power and ability, then mourning or waiting upon God for His power and provision leads to a person who embraces Christ-like Meekness.
Jesus took abuse and ridicule from those whom He created by His power, but submitted His will and power to the Father rather than using His power to destroy those who abused Him. That's what real strength looks like. That's what Divine Meekness looks like.
Meekness enables us to endure hardship and persecution because we trust that God allows it for our good, our purification. Meekness allows us to live like Jesus who did not live to take care of Himself, but others.