Meek, Not Weak

People tend to equate “meekness” with “weakness.” We see a meek person as more of a gaunt man rather than a muscleman. In fact, in MS Word, when I right-clicked the word “meek” and searched for its synonyms, one of them is “timid.” When Jesus declared, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,”[1] we tend to think that what He was actually saying was, “Blessed are the weak for they shall become doormats.”[2] I was not at all surprised when I saw that the Merriam and Webster online dictionary[3] defined “meek” as “deficient in spirit and courage” and “not violent or strong.”

Keep in mind, that in the Bible, meek is not weak. The word “meek” has a very colorful background in Biblical times. Back then, it refers to a wild stallion that trainers brought under control. Can you imagine the raw power that horses possess? Well, just watch a rodeo to get an idea of how much power a horse has. In fact, we use the term “horsepower” to measure a unit of power.

But, we can tame a horse to become such a gentle animal. I even read about hippotherapy or a therapy that uses horses to help children with special needs or patients who suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury to improve their functional skills.

When you think of meekness, think of a horse. Power under control. That’s why we say meek is not weak. So, instead of accepting the world’s definition, let us find out how the Bible described “meekness.” How does a meek person look like? I came up with the M-E-E-K acronym to make it easy to remember.

First, MEEKNESS IS BEING LIKE CHRIST. Twice in the book of Matthew our Lord Jesus was described as “meek.” In his triumphal entry in Jerusalem, Matthew wrote, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek…”[4] In fact, Jesus described Himself this way: “Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.”[5] Thus, to be meek is to be like Christ. And Christ was and is and will never be weak. The Lamb of God is also the Lion of Judah. Tough but gentle.

The Lord Jesus made it clear that He willingly came to die: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”[6] In the Garden of Gethsemane, though He was filled with deep anguish, he prayed: “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”[7] He is equal to the Father. He has the right not to go to the cross. But He chose to obey. He submitted Himself to God’s will. He exalted God’s will over all.

In fact, when Peter tried to stop His arrest, the Lord told him, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”[8] A legion was equal to 6,000 foot soldiers and 600 horsemen. That’s almost 80,000 angels! The Message goes like this: “Don’t you realize that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies—more, if I want them—of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready?” At that very moment, Jesus can summon even more than that! But He did not. When you have the power and you chose not to use that power, that is meekness. When you don’t insist on your rights, that is meekness.

Thus, to submit to God’s will is not an act of weakness. Instead, it is an act of meekness. James Packer wrote, “Meekness, for a child of God, means accepting uncomplainingly what comes, knowing that it comes from the hand of God who orders all things. What he sends, we accept in faith even if it hurts, knowing that it’s for our and others’ good.”[9] Also, when we obey God, when we submit to the church leadership or to the government, when wives submit to their husbands or when children submit to their parents, that is meekness. And meek is not weak.

Now, note the context of “Blessed are the meek...” in the Sermon on the Mount. First, Jesus started with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit...”[10] We see our need for God. We admit that we are spiritually poor or bankrupt. That we have nothing to be proud of before God. That’s why the next thing our Lord said is: “Blessed are those who mourn…”[11] Accepting that we are “poor in spirit” leads us to repent or “mourn.”


Then, it results to meekness. After we deal with our relationship with God, we now deal with our relationship with people. To love God is to love people. According to 1 John 4:20-21, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” You cannot love God without loving people.

Thus, a meek or humble person ESTEEMS OTHERS BETTER THAN HIMSELF. In the Greek, the word “meek” means “humble.” I like how The Message translated this verse: “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.” Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” To consider others better than you means you know where you stand. It doesn’t mean you consider yourself bad. Someone wrote, “Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts.”[12] You know you are good. But you judge others as better than you. Romans 12:10 says “Honor one another above yourselves.”


The Bible also does not say that we meet the needs of others at the expense of our own needs. It teaches us to think of others not only of ourselves. One way of doing that is to sacrificially serve others. Jesus Himself declared: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”[13] Now, if you consider yourself a member of Makati Gospel Church, you are not here to be served but to serve. You are here not just to be blessed but to be a blessing to others.

In the Greek, the word “meek” also means “gentle.” We are gentle enough to confront. Jesus is meek. But He also drove away the money-changers from the temple. Meekness does not mean we condone sin. Therefore, a meek or gentle person ENCOURAGES WITH HIS WORDS.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness.”[14] In the Greek, the word “restore” was “a surgical term of setting a bone or joint”.[15] We must be careful in handling a person with broken bones. It may hurt as we cast the bone but we don’t hurt the person unnecessarily. So also, we are to correct others “in a spirit of gentleness” because, spiritually speaking, they are broken. Back then, the word “gentle” refers to an “ointment that takes the fever and sting out of a wound”.[16] In fact, in one of Plato’s writings, he described how “a child asks the physician to be tender as he treats him. The child uses this term ‘gentle.’”[17] If we combine those word pictures, we must be gentle in dealing with people. Parents, that goes double for us.


One way of doing that is to be gentle with your words in correcting a person. The Message goes like this: “If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself.” We must be careful not only with what we say but how we say it. “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”[18] We must also be careful with our timing. “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, and a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.”[19]

When we share the Bible with others, we must also be gentle. We tend to shove our beliefs down people’s throats. We come across as arrogant. 1 Peter 3:15-16 commands us: “And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way.”[20] People do not care how much we know unless they know how much we care. They will listen to us if we listen to them also. They will be gentle to us if we are gentle to them.

Lastly, a meek person KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. In the Greek, the word “meek” also means “The humble and gentle attitude which expresses itself in a patient submissiveness to offense, free from malice and desire for revenge”.[21] A meek person is a forgiving person. Colossians 3:12-13 commands us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” The New Living Translation goes like this: “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” You don’t keep track of the bad things that people say or do against you. You only record the good words and works they did to you. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned us: “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.”[22] You don’t harbor anger or bitterness against a person for that would be tantamount to murder.

A meek person does not also retaliate. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus commanded us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”[23] During those times, a Roman soldier can actually compel anyone to carry his load up to a mile. Jesus commanded us to walk the extra mile. Dr. John MacArthur Jr., wrote, “The meek person is not concerned about defending himself because he knows he doesn’t deserve anything. He doesn’t run around trying to get his due.”[24] A meek person does not fight back. Titus 3:2 commands us: “They must not speak evil of anyone, and they must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.”[25] He reaches out in love. He is not overcome by evil but he overcomes evil with good.

So, how does a meek person look like?

MEEKNESS is being like Christ.

ESTEEMS others better than himself.

ENCOURAGES with his words.

KEEPS no record of wrongs.

Do you look like one? Look at the person besides you. Does he or she look like a meek person? Think of something that you can do to serve others. Is there a person that you need to encourage or to forgive? Wives, do you see yourselves as submissive wives? Kids, have you been obedient to your parents? Fathers, have you been gentle or harsh with your words? Maybe you need to apologize to somebody for what you have said or done. Be a blessed person. Be meek.

James Packer wrote, “Those who are meek, that is, prepared to forego their rights in this world, if that’s what God requires of them—will inherit the earth”.[26] To inherit means to possess. The meek will rule the earth. Yes, meek is not weak. In fact, he who humbles himself will be exalted. Psalm 37:9 and 11 gave this promise: “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land… the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.”

Let us pray…

-------------------------------------------------

[1]Matthew 5:5. All Bible verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise noted.
[2]Charles Swindoll, Improving Your Serve.
[3]http://m-w.com/dictionary/meek
[4]Matthew 21:5, Modern King James Version
[5]11:29, MKJV.
[6]John 10:18.
[7]Matthew 26:39, New Living Translation.
[8]26:53.
[9]http://www.bible.org/illus.php?topic_id=1729.
[10]5:3.
[11]5:4.
[12]http://www.bible.org/illus.php?topic_id=756
[13]Mark 10:45.
[14]The NET Bible.
[15]Rogers, Jr., Cleon and Cleon Rogers III, The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament.
[16]Swindoll.
[17]Ibid.
[18]Proverbs 12:18, NLT.
[19]Proverbs 25:11-12, The Message.
[20]NLT.
[21]Rogers.
[22]Matthew 5:21-22, The Message.
[23]Matthew 5:38-41.
[24]Happy are the Meek, Tape GC 2200
[25]Ibid.
[26]http://www.bible.org/illus.php?topic_id=1729.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

October 31 Is Not Just About Halloween

Let The Dead Bury Their Dead

Saints Here On Earth And There In Heaven (“Mother Teresa” Part 2)