By Don R. Hastings
In the Beatitudes, Jesus told us the characteristics which we must possess to be truly happy. The beautiful disposition of meekness is essential to be happy. The “poor in spirit” are, also, meek.
The disposition of meekness is greatly misunderstood. Many think that a meek person is one who is spineless, weak and cowardly (one who is so timid that he is too afraid to speak out and take a stand for anything). He is devoid of strength and courage. Such a concept of meekness is completely in error as we shall see.
“Blessed Are The Meek”
Let us define the word “meek,” which is translated from the Greek word praus. Thayer defines this Greek word as “gentle, mild, meek.” Webster defines the word “meek” as follows: “mild of temper; not easily provoked or irritated; patient under injuries; not vain, or haughty, or resentful; characterized by mildness of temper or patience.” David Lipscomb stated, “Meekness is a quiet and forbearing spirit that suffers wrong without resentfulness but firmness and unyielding devotion to right.” W. E. Vine states, “described negatively meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest . . . it is not occupied with self at all” (Expository Dictionary for New Testament Words, p. 56).
William Barclay writes, “. . . used of animals which have been tamed, and which have learned to accept discipline and control …. A horse obedient to the reigns, a dog trained to obey the word of command . . .” (Flesh and Spirit, pp. 113, 114). It is not the absence of strength, but strength brought under control! It is strength and gentleness perfectly combined for it takes strength to be angry at sin and yet treat the sinner with gentleness! It is being aggressive in defense of God’s word, but reluctant to retaliate for injuries brought upon self!
Meekness toward God is shown by our submissiveness to Him (Gal. 2:20). A meek person has brought himself under God’s control and is, therefore, “meet for the master’s use” (2 Tim. 2:21). “The meek Christian accepts God’s dealings with him as always for his good” (The Beatitudes, by James Tolle, p. 39). (See Job 1:21; 1 Sam. 3:18; Lk. 1:38; 2 Cor. 12:7-10.) It causes us to sincerely say, “Thy will be done.” Meekness is the disposition which causes us to humbly admit our ignorance and seek understanding from the word which is able to save our souls (James 1:21; Psa. 25:9).
We are to show “all meekness toward all men”(Tit. 3:1, 2). We must show meekness in answering those who question our hope for eternal life in Christ (1 Pet. 3:15). A gentle answer will do the questioner more good than trying to ram our faith down his throat. Our answer should never be accompanied with scorn and contempt.
We must show meekness in reproving those who have gone astray (Gal. 6:1 KJV). “Correction can be given in a way which entirely discourages a man and which drives him to depression and despair; and correction can be given in a way which sets a man upon his feet with the determination to do better and with the hope of doing better” (Flesh and Spirit, by Win. Barclay, p. 117). “Meekness is the spirit which makes correction a stimulant and not a depressant, a means to hope and not a cause of despair” (Ibid).
We must show meekness in correcting those who teach error for such a disposition is far more effective than harshness. It is far more effective than an argumentative disposition” (2 Tim. 2:24, 25).
We must show meekness by refusing to avenge ourselves of the suffering and injuries which others have brought upon us (Rom. 12:19, 21). If we can learn to suffer wrong without becoming filled with hatred and bitterness, we will be a lot happier. Meekness produces peace for it will cause one to let another have his coat instead of fighting for it. He does not let trivial things upset him (Matt. 5:38-42). It takes far more strength to refuse to retaliate than to go ahead and strike back.
Two great examples of meekness in the Scriptures are Moses and Jesus. “Now the man Moses was very meek . .” (Numbers 12:3). The context of this verse proves the meekness of Moses for he was patient with those who opposed him (Numbers 12:1-15). Moses was not a spineless person, but a man of great strength and courage.
Jesus was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29; 21:5; 2 Cor. 10:1). Meekness is one of the ways in which Christ was like Moses (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22). In His meekness, Christ was both the “lamb of God” and the “lion of the tribe of Judah” (John 1:29; Rev. 5:5). As a lamb, Christ was submissive to God’s will (Mt. 26:39; Jn. 5:30). As a lamb, Christ was gentle and forgiving to those who treated Him cruelly (Lk. 23:34; 1 Pet. 2:23; Isa. 53:7). As a lion, Christ rebuked sharply the Pharisees and scribes for they were “blind guides” (Mt. 23). As a lion, Christ drove out those who were making His “Father’s house a house of merchandise” (John 2:13-17).
“For They Shall Inherit the Earth”
The premillennialists believe this will be fulfilled when Christ comes again. They are wrong (2 Pet. 3:10). The word “inherit” implies that the earth is not bought, stolen, or earned, but given to the meek by God (Psa. 37:9-11, 22, 29, 34). The meek may not be actual title holders of the land, but they realize that the earth’s is Jehovah’s and all its beauty and riches are theirs to enjoy (Psa. 24:1; 1 Cor. 3:21-23). Who is richer, the man who owns ten houses, or the one who can knock on a hundred doors and be received with joy (Mark 10:29, 30)?
Meekness is essential if we are going to behave ourselves as true children of God (Col. 3:12; Eph. 4:1, 2; 1 Pet. 3:3, 4). The world would encourage you to develop an aggressive, domineering disposition which places itself above others. This attitude may help you obtain your worldly goals, but it will not make you really happy! The meek are happy because they are submissive to God. They are under His control. They are contented and at peace with God, their fellow man and themselves. Will you meekly obey the Lord?
Guardian of Truth XXV: 2, pp. 26-27
January 8, 1981