Meekness

What does this word mean?  In the OT it is often interchanged with “humble.” (I won’t be talking about the OT usage in this post however).  In the NT different translations will render the greek word praus as meek or gentle.  Lets look at the word’s definition:

M-W.com – “meek” – 1 : enduring injury with patience and without resentment : mild 2 : deficient in spirit and courage : submissive 3 : not violent or strong : moderate

I bring this up because I believe there might be some confusion on what meekness is really all about.  I was taught growing up that meekness was the quality of being receptive to God and the Scriptures – in the same way that a dry plant soaks up water.  While I believe this is an important quality to have, I do not think that defining meekness in such a way is correct. 

From many different sources the word “meek” means gentle.  But let’s quickly examine a few places in Scripture where I think we can get a better understanding of this word from:

(during the triumpant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem the following was fulfilled from Zech 9:9) Matthew 21:5 – “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE (KJV – meek), AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'”

What type of picture is being shown here?  Rather than a king on a white horse of battle, the Messiah was entering God’s city on a donkey.  This was a great scene, showing Jesus’ meekness – this is an image of a gentle king, coming in peace.

Matthew 11:29 – “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle (KJV – meek) and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.”

Again Jesus is not speaking of his receptivity to God or Scripture.  He is talking about his mild nature.  He is not harsh or violent, he is meek.

Matthew 5:5 – Blessed are the gentle (KJV – meek), for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus wants his people to be meek.  Christians should not be violent, harsh, or stern.  The people who will inherit the earth in the age to come are those who take the position of gentleness now.  Those who are showing force and power over others will be those who will be humbled when the Kingdom comes.

One of the major qualities of the coming Kingdom is that of peace (consider the picture of the wolf and lamb).  Kingdom citizens living as strangers and pilgrims on the earth now should be following the ways of their homeland, that of gentleness, kindness, and peace.  If we take this command seriously, we will see injustice done in the world and in our own life.  We will be stepped on and taken advantage of…but that leads into the natural progression of the words of our Lord – we will also be those who will hunger and thirst for righteousness – because so much unrighteousness and injustice is present now (Matthew 5:6).

Perhaps this is not a quality that is naturally in your character.  The Lord can help change that.  Maybe you are a tough handyman who thinks meekness is weakness.  Maybe you are a high school student who doesn’t want to back down from a fight.  Maybe you are parent who is frustrated with your children.  No matter where you are at now, God can lead you to where He wants you to be.  What we must decide is whether we want to follow.

Seek God in prayer today about this.  Examine the fruit of gentleness on your tree.  Is it there?

Being gentle people is required of those living in light of the Kingdom.  We should be gentle in our dealings with each other and the world, after all, God has been with us.

A few questions:

– Does our society promote gentleness as a positive quality?
– How does gentleness come into play when confrontation is necessary (Gal 6:1)?
– Describe for me what someone looks like if they are gentle.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by JohnO on February 16, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    I think gentleness can be seen when someone does not speak, even when the situation gets hostile. The Scriptures speak of the tounge being an a big evil in our lives – and one who has mastered it has done a good work. I think that I see this as a big part of my life. Not raising up to speak, or take over a situation when it won’t do any good, or just to get your two cents. Of course there are probably more times I need to speak 🙂

    Reply

  2. Excellent point JohnO. Perhaps gentleness is the lack of forceful and harsh action too, thats a good though.

    (James 3:2 – For we all stumble in many ways If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.)

    Reply

  3. Just to clarify something, to be meek does not mean you are a wuss. Enduring affliction with patience and without resentment (meek according to Merriam Webster) takes incredible strength. Just look at Jesus on the cross. He was perfectly meek and it took collosal strength.

    Reply

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