Growing up, I suppose I was like most boys and I was taught to take care of number one. I learned to defend myself (which was important because I was always small for my age until Junior High). I was taught to not back down, to be at the front of the line, to be tough. One thing I was definitely not taught, was to be meek.
To be meek was to be weak. I envisioned meek people cowering in a corner, scared of the world. I imagined them always trying to please everyone so that they would leave them alone.
Yet, in Scripture, Christ speaks of the meek, not as losers who cower but as the strong who will come out victorious. Matthew 5:5 paints this picture saying, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” God shows that He favors the meek and asks His people, “To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2).
This is certainly a much different picture than the world gives us. In the world we are taught to speak evil against those who have hurt you, to not avoid a fight if you feel it is justified, to be strong and dominating and to show courtesy only to those who we feel deserve it.
So, why such a difference? It all comes down to who you have come to trust. If you only have trust in yourself, then you only have yourself to bring about justice (at least the justice you think is warranted). But with God, you can rid yourself of the responsibility of making the world your version of fair. With trust in God, you can focus on the right and not on what it might take to make things even.
Jesus asked His followers to, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus modeled pure meekness in that, though He was God Himself, He came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:45). His yoke is not one of slavery but of freedom.
Being meek in this world in not for the weak, it is only for the strong. To do everything in love and gentleness with our old Adam trying to lead us to destruction is not for the frail in heart. To resist the devil is a full-time job that can only be done if we take on the very nature of God. A nature filled with mercy and grace, not anger and revenge.
James 3:13 asks us, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” Just as Christ came to save sinners through gentleness and mercy, so we are called to do the same.
If Christ had come as the conquering warrior as expected, he wouldn’t have made nearly the impact He made through love and grace. If he had come as a tyrant who ruled with fear, the world would have been destroyed through vengeance.
Yet, in His wisdom, Christ came to us as a lowly infant and grew into the perfect example of power through meekness. He changed the world through love. He showed us a better way to deal with the world and called us to be servants instead of overlords.
1 Peter 3:15 urges all of us saying, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” He is not asking us to cower, he is asking us to be strong. He is asking us to be wise in the understanding that meekness is what the world needs. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, forgive us for all those times that we thought anger and revenge were our only options. Teach us to practice strength through meekness. Help us to focus on the right, even when we have experienced wrong. Keep us faithful to you as we learn to live in love. Amen.