Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
If a child was being bullied by the tough kid down the street, few dads (probably none) will advise, “Now, it’s important you show that boy how meek you are.” Most dads would encourage their child to be strong, stand up for himself, be assertive, fight back. Meekness is not a characteristic many aspire to possess. It doesn’t fit with our modern thinking and sounds (dare I say it?) wimpy. So why does the Bible tell us to be meek?
If we research synonyms of meekness, we will find words such as tame, timid, weak, docile, unambitious, spiritless, wimpish. Some sources also list humility, mildness, and gentleness (good Bible words), but those characteristics are not highly valued in our society either. They are viewed as weaknesses rather than strengths.
While giving what we now call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those gathered that day, “Blessed [happy, favored] are the meek.” Most people today do not grasp what this means. Today’s culture equates meekness with weakness, but quite the opposite is true.
Meekness has been described as strength under control. This trait is the opposite of acting in one’s self-interest or with aggressiveness. It means we turn the situation over to God.
When I think of meekness, two names come to mind: Moses and Jesus. We would never describe either as weak or spineless. Each possessed a quiet strength that guided them through many difficult circumstances.
Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as the meekest man on the face of the earth. Yet, this meek man led possibly two million people for forty years through a wilderness—a daunting task for anyone. How did he do it? By trusting in God’s strength instead of his human abilities. Over and over we see him putting the needs of the people over his personal desires and wellbeing.
Jesus, the perfect example of meekness, tells us to “learn from Me, for I am gentle [meek, mild] and lowly [humble, submissive] in heart” (Matthew 11:29, NKJV). Throughout His ministry, Jesus was despised, scorned, criticized, and treated unjustly. How did He respond to such harsh treatment? First Peter 2:23 gives the answer.
“He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” (NLT)
What does meekness mean for you and me today?
- It means patiently enduring unjust treatment without lashing back or seeking vindication.
- It means solving problems with gentleness rather than harshness.
- It means learning to accept the circumstances we cannot control.
- It means working to achieve what is best for all over any personal ambitions.
- It means dying to self and trusting in God’s strength.
Being meek does not mean we must make ourselves into a doormat or a spineless wimp. Nor does it mean giving up our convictions to pacify others. It does mean we recognize the true source of our strength comes from the Lord. It is the Spirit of God at work in our lives, making us into His image. There’s nothing wimpy about that!
Perhaps it is time we ask the Lord to make the fruit of the Spirit more evident in our daily lives.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness [meekness], self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NKJV)