The Beatitudes: Blessed are the Meek

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In the beatitudes, Jesus presents blessings that are available to the one that would accept that their own blessedness, their transformation from injury and hurt to healing and relief, requires they first pursue and take on-board some healing attitudes of faith.

Often meekness is presented as an attitude we have toward God, defined as a temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good. Accepting this, we don't dispute with, resist, struggle or contend with him; rather we submit.

That is true and essential for a full understanding and practice of meekness.

But I want to focus on meekness as it relates to one another.

For of the two, God and man, it is easier for me to exercise meekness toward a God I know has my best interests at heart, than it is toward another person who may be as broken as I am.

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To be honest, I struggle with meekness; real meekness. I find it easy enough to be mild mannered and present a humble enough disposition, but there is a pride in me that too often will raise its head when confronted by another persons critique.

Just ask my wife. How carefully she has to tread when situations arise that cause her to question my motives, judgements, words or behaviour. More often than I care to recall, I will get my back up. Rather than listen,consider and determine to do better, I just get annoyed.

The problem is not with my wife--as much as I'd like to blame her. Nor is it with others. The problem is with me. Bottom line, I simply don't like it being suggested that I am anything but having-it-all-together and praiseworthy. Therefore to bring to light anything to the contrary is subconsciously unsettling, to the point that I will often fight back to protect the fragility of my foolish ego.

Maybe, for some of you, that confession also rings true.

Maybe, like me, you wonder about your own life, how mature you would be as a person if you'd been open enough to receive all the help that was available to you in the loving, honest reflections of others; to be able to receive challenging reflections (constructive criticisms) without defending ourselves or punishing the messenger.

How human it is, that we stand ever eager to voice our own opinions of others in the form of gossip, but get our back up at anything directed at us that threatens our security, our self confidence, our image.

Yet genuine healing, Jesus says, requires that the life-wounded acknowledge their own resistance to others. Whether that be others insights regarding them, accountability toward others, or just asking for help.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to acknowledge our need for others, and to lay aside the lies of our own pride and independence.

MEEKNESS!

If the epitome of pride is an attitude that will accept only praise and seek only self elevation, that attitude is most plainly seen in its refusal to yield to others or seek their help; especially in regard our faults.

On the other hand, if the epitome of humility is the attitude that accepts the truth about oneself, it is revealed most fully in the meekness with which it yields to others and accepts their help.

Meekness, then, is the outward expression of a humble heart. It's what others see of Jesus' work of grace in me. It says to God, “Direct my steps Lord, for it is not in my power to direct my own.” It says to other Christians, “Help me walk, I need the support of those that walk the same path.” It is a humility built upon the fact of our own frailty, but cemented in the foundation of Gods grace.

A.W. Tozer once wrote,

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority.

Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, of more importance than angels.

In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values.

Meekness, then, is what results as we surrender any pretence to establish or defend our own righteousness before God and before each other, and allow God to establish it for us.

And, at times, God may choose to use others to bring into the light those things about ourselves that rest not in God's righteousness, but in self-righteousness. And on those occasions where God uses others to bring something about us out of darkness and into the light, we should heed James' words, be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Another word for meekness in this context is submission.

Submission

Submission is not a popular word in our culture. People don't like passages in the bible that talk about submission; young submit to the old; wives submit to their husbands.

1 Peter 5:5 even reads

Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

That passage clearly tells us that the healing grace of God is generously provided for those that are meek in their relationship and dealings with others. Notice that if does not say, meek in their relationship with God, but with their brethren. That's because the measure of one's humility before God is proportional to ones meekness toward the members of God's family. Just as the love of God is seen in the love of brethren [1 John 4:20]

God takes personally our dealings with one another. As Matt 25:40 says, Whatever you do to the least of these,... you do it to me”

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Do you want to be humble before God and inherit all the blessings that he has prepared for you? Then, as Peter said, submit yourself to your brother and sisters in Christ, and God's healing grace will be given to you.

But acknowledge that submission is not only about serving them, it is also about accepting the service they can provide you.

Of the more practical ways we submit to one another is in acknowledging how others can help us grow. I submit to you, because you bless my growth in Christ.

That may raise a few eyebrows. Not least for the question it raises: “Do I really need others to grow in Christ?”

You may be tempted to say “No”, however consider what Paul wrote to the Ephesians 4:15-16

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

I like the way that translation uses the word healthy. We can only be a healthy body, when we work together for mutual growth. When I do my part to help you grow and, just as importantly, allowing you to do your part in helping me grow.

One of the reason's meekness [submissive] can be absent within the church, is when no need is acknowledged.

After-all, people will not submit to God until they honestly accept their need for him. Likewise, we will fail to develop a manner of meekness amongst us, until we honestly accept our need for one another.

Christ has placed you in the body to help me. Christ has placed me in the body to help you.

When Christ's body works together in this way, it becomes, like the human body, enabled to heal and grow.

Which of the Beatitudes do you find the most intriguing

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Illness soon enters the body when parts no longer work in synergy together, so too the church.

Healing is a process that has a beginning and a completion. Our healing began the moment we took on Christ, as 1 Peter 2:24 says, ‘by his wounds we have been healed.’

And his healing grace will continue to work in our lives until that day, as Paul said in Philippians 3:21, when Christ 'will transform our lowly bodies that they might be conformed to his glorious body.'

In the interim, however, while we await that transformation, we need to fully submit to Christ’s healing work in us. Humbly, MEEKLY, allowing him to change us from the inside out.

And, as we've seen, central to to that healing process is the church. In comparing the church to the human body, Paul paints a good analogy of what can happen when members of the body meekly submit to one another, and what can happen when they don't.

A markerSea of Galilee in Israel -
Sea of Galilee
[get directions]

Jesus preached the beatitudes between Capernaum and Tabgha. These biblical locations are located somewhere about the modern-day Sea of Galilee.

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18 comments

UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 3 years ago from Canada

Parrster! It has been soooo long since I have been on here and the minute I decide to take a look...there you are! With a most excellent article. Meekness has always been a confusion for me so I was intrigued from the get go what your take on this is. You have given me much to consider. I thank you. The last couple of years God has clearly shown me the may ways and means I use to hide my "true" self. I have been learning how to come out of hiding in an honest yet healthy way...and running from the fellowship is not it. Thank you for the article...God has used you to teach me yet again. Blessings to you my friend. Ulrike Grace


stessily 3 years ago

parrster, As you point out, it often is easier to display meekness toward God than in human relationships. (Or, for that matter, relationships with Nature.) Perhaps part of this difficulty stems from the controversial connotations, of submissiveness, which have been slapped onto this quiet, seemingly unassertive trait. But by placing this trait within the context of its blessedness, and therefore in a sacred, not a mundane, space, meekness conveys the display of deference and, by extension, openness (not prejudgment, not rejection, not interference) to the essence of a situation. Humility, kindness, and meekness are all intertwined and are all developed through wisdom. As James points out, there are two kinds of wisdom: one is "earthly, unspiritual, demonic" while the other, which comes from heaven, is expressed by "good deeds done in meekness" (James 3:13-18). The wisdom of this world was presented by Jesus in the Parable of the Shrewd (Dishonest) Manager, and the difference between these two forms of wisdom was compellingly stated: "The people of this world look out for themselves better than the people who belong to the light" (Luke 16:8).

As for your poll, Which of the Beatitudes do you find the most intriguing?

Appreciatively, Stessily


parrster profile image

parrster 3 years ago from Oz Author

@UlikeGrace ~ how good to hear from you again! I also have worn too many masks concealing the true me, struggling to allow people in, keeping them at a "safe" distance. Of course, my appearance management is motivated by pride and fear, motives that only stymie the potential to bless and be blessed.

Although meekness is about 'power under control', I have come to appreciate that is it also about a willingness to submit to others scrutiny, that God's work in me is often through the avenue of others and, therefore, requires submission to them, even actively seeking their input. That comes hard to me.


parrster profile image

parrster 3 years ago from Oz Author

@Stessily ~ Another voice I've not heard from in too long, and have missed. If I read your comment correct, it carries two tones, one of assent, the other disagreement; though I am pressed to distinguish where one begins and the other ends.

Forgive me for the poll, it was the last item to include and more an attempt to meet 'quality-hub' metrics than anything useful. I will consider revising.

Having a genuine respect for your insights, maybe you could elaborate your comment further for me.

Appreciatively, Richard


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

I was very touch by these words. What you say is so true and I found myself relating to the same struggle you discussed. It is not so easy to always listen to others, even when it is constructive. I pray every morning for God to light my path, so I can walk in his ways.

Meekness or submission with God is not so difficult, but before others, there is the spot I sometimes struggle. Your hub is very thought provoking and a wonderful message for me to read the first thing this morning. God bless you.


parrster profile image

parrster 3 years ago from Oz Author

@Pamela99 ~ Thank you for the kind words. I believe the scriptures ask somewhere how we can say we love God, if we do not love one another. So much of what God seeks to transform in us hinges, it seems, on how we relate to our fellow man. Such that, developing a vertical relationship with him cannot progress far beyond the depth of the horizontal ones we daily experience. There is a great synergy in Gods design.

God bless


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

I think you are exactly right. I think very simply terms sometimes, like "What would Jesus do?" Obivously Jesus is love, so the course of action is always clear; we just need to be aware and act accordingly.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

It is always best to let the Lord guide us each day.


stessily 3 years ago

Richard, The computer had a mind of its own yesterday and did not save the entirety of my comment. So I tried to delete my comment, but it wouldn't allow that, either.

My comments are meant to be supportive and encouraging, for your presentation is clear and well thought out. As with your other thought pieces, you've posed interesting questions and searched for clarity from inspired sources.

I think that there is an underlying connotation of submissiveness and of weakness in the word meekness which is difficult to accept and to comprehend, especially in human interactions, in these oh so modern times. James pinpoints meekness ("good deeds done in meekness") as the point of distinction between divinely inspired wisdom and earthly induced wisdom. It is not easy to be meek, just as it is not always easy to be kind. Meekness, in the context of being a blessing, is a strength which is honed through situations of seeming weakness for adults, such as asking for help, receiving criticism, offering service, etc. ("Strength is made perfect in weakness" 2 Corinthians 12:10)

As you noted in one of your comments, "So much of what God seeks to transform in us hinges, it seems, on how we relate to our fellow man. Such that, developing a vertical relationship with him cannot progress far beyond the depth of the horizontal ones we daily experience. There is a great synergy in God's design."

As you've shown, relating to other humans is not necessarily an easy process. The desired smoothness is achieved through the friction of learning. For those who devalue meekness, the path through the wilderness may seem clearer because their focus is narrower; that is why Luke explains that "The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light" (Luke 16:8).

I thought that your poll posed a good question. I just wondered where you would cast your vote. For me, every other beatitude is subsumed within the peacemakers, who are inspired by such motivations as righteousness, mercy, etc.

Your writing is always enlightening and relevant.

Appreciatively, Stessily


skye2day profile image

skye2day 3 years ago from Rocky Mountains

parrster God Bless you dear bro for an awesome study of Gods wondrous love Truly I have tears of joy I so needed to hear this message. The Holy Spirit shines in you dear brother love Skye


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Parrster, this is such a powerful presentation on meekness. Meekness toward the other person is a real challenge and you have lifted the lid. Thanks for taking on this difficult issue. You did a marvelous job. Voted Up and Useful!


parrster profile image

parrster 3 years ago from Oz Author

@GypsyRoseLee ~ Great advice, and something I aim to do ever more diligently.


parrster profile image

parrster 3 years ago from Oz Author

@Stessily ~ thank you for such a well written and encouraging comment. I must have been suffering from writers paranoia when I read your initial comment :)

I should have known better. You remain one of my very favourite hubbers (not that that was in any doubt :)


parrster profile image

parrster 3 years ago from Oz Author

@skye2day ~ For one of the few times in my life, I am glad to say "I made a girl cry". Thank you, Skye, for your lovely spirit.

@MsDora ~ Your encouraging words mean a lot to me, thank you. It is a difficult subject, and even more challenging to develop consistently in our lives. God bless.


stessily 3 years ago

Richard, You are an inspiration for me, as you are for many in cyberspace and in real life. I have the greatest admiration and respect for you; you are one of my very favorite writers. Your faith is wonderfully presented.

I was feeling scattered at the time of my comments. Plus the computer was temperamental; cyberspace here has been goofy for quite a while. I also was simply in awe of your presentation; you're able to set this unassuming, blessed trait of meekness into the context of human interactions and make it completely understandable, so we all are able to recall how we may be on target in being meek with God but how, and why, we may miss the mark so widely in being meek in human interactions.

I always value the treasury of your writings, and I always look forward to your next offering.

Appreciatively, Stessily


Alexandra Clark profile image

Alexandra Clark 3 years ago from God bless America

Thanks for writing this. Many have asked me what is the difference between meekness and humbleness. For Christ said, "Learn of Me for I am meek and humble of heart." This then must mean that there is a difference in the two.


parrster profile image

parrster 3 years ago from Oz Author

@Alexandra ~ it's nice to see a new face, and especially one so devoted to godly things, welcome. Some translations use the word gentle in place of meek, but either way, I understand meekness as being the outward expression of the humility in the heart.

We can approach Jesus for instruction and rest, and find it, because he is one who has emptied himself for our sake. Leaving the glories of heaven to become a servant of man, and dying so that we might have life. The perfect example of humility in action (meekness).


Anne 3 years ago

When I was growing up, our prhecaer would preach about being humble and meek. He put it like this: it's power under control; and that has stuck with me ever since.That one lesson I learned from my dearly beloved pastor encouraged me to pray for a spouse that was meek. That had his power under control.God honored that prayer and I'm blessed with the world's best man. He's perfectly suited to me. Thank you for sharing this with us. I enjoyed it very much!

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