Friday, August 14, 2009

Does Meekness = Weakness?

Meekness is a character quality put forward in Scriptures, and in christian circles. However, many people misunderstand the idea of meekness. I looked up the definition of meekness online, and here is one prominent definition:

"Meek - evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant"

Now I would say that meekness isn't anything like that. It's much more the opposite! Compliant? Moses was a meek person (Num. 12:3) and stood against the ruler of Egypt! Little spirit? Jesus Christ Himself was meek (Mt. 11:29) and the last thing that could be said of Him was that He had little spirit. As for courage, which of the bravest of us would willing go to the cross?
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So what does meek really mean?


Let's look at the original greek word:
praus.
That word is used to describe a medicine that brings soothing relief from pain. It is also used in relation to horses that have been tamed. Finally, it's also been used it to describe gentle blowing breezes.

In each case, meekness describes power under control. An unbroken colt can cause serious damage, but a broken one has great power under control. A gentle wind brings relief, but hurricane force winds bring destruction.

Ephesians 4:1-2 instructs us to be meek in our interactions toward each other. That meekness involves gentleness also. (2 Corinthians 10:1) Meekness, then, in our lives is not a lack of strength, but rather a lot of strength, used only for good, and never to harm. To protect, and not to hurt. The more power there is, the more meekness there must be. If a kid was capable of killing people by glaring at them, he would much more quickly than other kids need to learn patience, gentleness and self-control.
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But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
Revelation 5:5

Looking again at the example of Christ, He was described as a lion. Lions are epic, beautiful, and very dangerous! One day, we are told, the lion will lie down with the lion. That is not to say that the lion will cease being a lion, but rather to express that a dangerous lion will be protective and gentle toward others, especially helpless lambs. That reminds me, I really like the recent Chronicles of Narnia movies, and especially C.S. Lewis' depiction of the Christ-character as a Lion. It captured beautifully both His meekness and gentleness, even being led to death, and terrifying power which created life won battles.

Meekness is not weakness. No. Meekness is being to crush your opponent, but being merciful instead. But one must also remember that in addition to mercy there is justice. Someday Christ will come back to judge and destroy this earth. A meek ruler is still a ruler who punishes evil.

A non-believer once said "It's going to be fun to watch and see how long the meek can keep the earth once they inherit it. "

But as we can see, even in the analogy of Aslan the lion, a powerful and gentle ruler is truly an awesome force to be reckoned with! It is more scary to stand in the presence of calm power than angry impulsiveness. Now think about that for a moment. Gentle. Meek. Calm. Quiet. Powerful. Those all go together. Anger and frustration don't. Who get's frustrated - the one winning the game, or the one losing? The one losing of course! Those with power have a more naturally calm and quiet spirit.

"Walk softly, and carry a big stick."


I believe that's a good definition of meekness, except perhaps add in there a bit about being loving and gentle to all, but not at the expense of justice. I like this definition personally: God's meekness is absolute power under perfect control. Our power, similarly, should not just be restrained to being tactful in accomplishing our own sometimes unkind goals, but should be restrained in love. Christ could strike any person dead right now, but retrains His power every day because He is patience and loving, tender-hearted, caring, protective, and sympathetic toward us!

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That's about all I have to say. Meekness isn't weakness, it's power under control. So go out there and be meek. Your words are more powerful than you know! Your love is more powerful than you know! Your spirit toward people, your looks of either encouragement or contempt are more powerful than you know. You have the power to lift up or to tear down. You are a powerful being! Now go out and use that power wisely!!! Satan wants you to use your power to hurt others, but we are instead to offer our bodies as powerful instruments of righteousness to God. Get out there and live a life of meekness and power! Make a difference - for the side of love!

The world's view of meekness:


My picture of meekness:











7 comments:

joanne said...

Thank you for directing me here! I enjoyed your article on meekness and I agree, the more powerful a person is, the more potential they have for true meekness. As believers, we have access to limitless wealth and power, and therefore we should be known for our meekness.

May God lift you up on His eagle's wings and renew your strength

joannebethel said...

Yup, I remember this one, Skarlet, well done!

Anonymous said...

Phillipians 2:5-11 is a good illustration of Jesus' meek. 6 Jesus thought it not robbery to be equal with God. 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant... 8 he humbled himself...

Jesus is an example of a meek man.

Skarlet said...

Good example with Phillipians. Jesus was a great example of meekness, and yet we know that He will come again in all His glory and will defeat all of His enemies. (Psalms 110)

Anonymous said...

Hi Skarlet, what is the difference between grace and mercy from your perspective? Did Abraham have mercy or grace to Lot after Lot chose the better land, and yet Abraham went to rescue Lot and return all back to Lot? Did David have mercy or grace to King Saul when David had chances to kill Saul?

Skarlet said...

Well, I think that mercy is more along the lines of withholding judgment. I think that you only can have mercy on someone who has sinned and deserves some sort of punishment. Hence, if you offend someone, and you decide to place yourself "at their mercy," it means that you realize you were wrong, and will accept the just punishment, but plead for any mercy they are willing to offer.

Grace, on the other hand, is much more like help in time of need. Now, grace is a blessing, but there are many blessings which are not grace.

In the two examples that you give, I first would say that Abraham was gracious to Lot. Lot did no wrong in taking Abraham up on his offer, and therefore did not require judgment or mercy. He did, however, need undeserved help, and Abraham graciously offered that help.

In a similar vein, we as believers are called to speak in a such way that it will impart grace to the hearers. We want our speak to help people, and to build them up, and to make it easier for them to make the right choices.

When David did not kill Saul, it would be closer to mercy than to grace (since David was not helping Saul). David withheld taking vengeance on Saul, so that could be considered mercy, but one could also argue that David had no place to be executing judgment on Saul (who was God's anointed) and therefore it was not true mercy.

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