Merriam-Webster defines ‘meek’ in a few ways including ‘deficient in spirit or courage’ and ‘not violent or strong.’ Even in the face of such definitions, the pop evangelists rush to tell us that meekness does not equate to weakness when looking at Scripture. But what if it does?
And, what if that’s actually a comfort, not a condemnation?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)”
We often think of the Sermon on the Mount as a laundry list of attributes we should work harder to embody. But what if Jesus wasn’t speaking to what we should work hard to become but declaring comfort to people that were already there?
Jared Wilson writes in The Imperfect Disciple:
“No, the Beatitudes are not laws. They aren’t steps or tips. These blessings are good tidings! They are announcements of something happening, not instructions of things to do. The Beatitudes are beautiful entailments of the good news of God’s kingdom, which has come in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ – that is to say, they do not come in and through the strategies of therapeutic Christian moralizing.”
If Jesus were to declare that the meek will be blessed but then add, “Just remember that meekness is not weakness,” I would be in trouble. In twisting words so that Scripture’s call to meekness in no way damages egos or stands in the way of pride, popular leaders have put a heavy burden onto the shoulders of many.
I fit the earlier definitions of meek; on my own, I am deficient in both spirit and courage, not strong enough to pull my life together, let alone fight on behalf of my own soul. Run your finger down the list of attributes found in the Beatitudes, pick out the weaknesses, and I embody those as well.
Jesus knew that. Jesus knows what heavy burdens are unknowingly placed on our shoulders by the rejection of anything ‘less-than.’ He STILL speaks to that.
When he said, “Blessed are the meek,” he spoke it to me too. And it’s something I can still rejoice in. Meekness may be weakness, but it’s a comfort to know that Christ is strong enough for both of us.