I’m going to be honest. I have always thought of meekness as being a sort of cousin to timidity. When I thought of someone as being meek I often envisioned a precious moments figurine. A person who never stood up for themselves. Someone who kept their head down and endured whatever was thrown at them. But when our pastor gave a sermon called “Meekness is not Weakness”, the investigator in me felt like I needed to do a tiny bit of research.
The dictionary defines Meekness as: 1. Mild. 2. Deficient in spirit and courage 3. Not violent or strong.
Wellllll……..Sounds like my definitions of meek to me, …moving on……. WAIT!!!!!!
Have I mentioned that a new song plays in my head every morning? Well guess what happened THE very next morning? A made up, not really a song but a version of a real song, started playing in my head. It went a little something like this, “Meek and mild, meek and mild, there’s a gal inside me who’s meek and mild!” Now pair that little diddy up with the tune of “Deep and Wide” and you will know what I had to put up with all day! Clearly God didn’t want me to put this subject to rest quite yet.
Ok, so back to the research. In Hebrew the word meek means “depressed in the mind”. In Greek, the word meek translates as “praeis” and refers to mildness, gentleness of spirit, or humility.” But here is where it starts to get really interesting. You see when Matthew 5:5 says “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”, meek doesn’t mean that a person who is meek is weak in the mind and spirit will inherit the earth! In fact it refers to the conduct of man towards God. In the time(s) that the Bible was written, the word meek could have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In the case of Matthew 5, it derives it’s meaning from the previous two Beatitudes. (If you are confused, don’t worry William Barclay referred to meekness as “the most untranslatable of words in the New Testament” Just hang with me for a minute longer) John W. Ritenbaugh beautifully sums all of this up in his Fruit of the Spirit series by stating, “A meek person will feel the wrong done against him and feel it bitterly. But because he is not thinking of himself, his meekness does not allow his spirit to give vent to a hateful, savage and vindictive anger that seeks to “get even.” He will instead be full of pity for the damaged character, attitudes and blindness of the perpetrator. From the stake Jesus uttered, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” Luke 23:24 This virtue is a strong bulwark against self-righteousness and intolerant and critical judgment of others. Yet neither does it excuse or condone sin. Rather, a meek person understands it more clearly, thus his judgment is tempered, avoiding reacting more harshly than is necessary….Meekness is an awareness of what we were, and who we would be without Jesus!”
Did you get that? Meekness is not a definition, it is an awareness! A meek person will totally be aware that they have been wronged but instead of lashing out, they will pray for and feel sorry for their perpetrator! A meek person won’t seek revenge for the gossip that has been spread about them, or the money that was borrowed and never paid back, or the tongue lashing they received for no reason!! A meek person will forgive the person and pity them. A meek person will seek to adopt the attitude of Jesus, and only react through discernment. Meekness is a fruit of the spirit and requires spiritual maturity to execute.
So back to those definitions! HA! 1. Mild 2. Deficient in spirit 3. Not violent or strong. I don’t know about you but a biblically meek person is definitely not mild, deficient in spirit, and although I would remove violent, they are definitely strong. No timidity here!
Once again, scripture reminds us that Christians are not of this world, that we are not to conform to the “definitions” of normal that society gives us. I think that Meek alone has shown me how incredibly wrong those definitions can be.
” The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” Psalm 25:9