Happy and blessed 4: the meek

Happy and blessed 4:

The meek or the gentle

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Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 ESVUK

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

Years ago, when cigarette manufacturers were still allowed to advertise, there was a billboard for Silk Cut cigarettes saying “Mild but not meek.” It looks like the word meek means milder than mild. In other words weak and ineffective. Why would God bless these people? Jesus is the model of meekness or gentleness. The blessing here is for the people who are like Jesus.

There is an abbreviation in Christian circles. WWJD. It stands for What Would Jesus Do. To people who use this abbreviation, it may not be part of what they are thinking that WJWD, (What Jesus Would Do, I just made that one up.) could include making a whip and using it to turn traders out of the temple, overturning their tables, whilst calling the temple a den of thieves and simultaneously insulting the Sanhedrin, the religious and political leaders of that time.

So how was this action of Jesus meek? How could this be the action of someone who was gentle and lowly of heart?

It depends on what we mean by meek. The Greek word πραΰς, praÿs, means meek and gentle but it is used for those who rely on God to save them from injustice. They can stand against injustice but they are only ever hitting upwards, speaking truth to power, never downwards. Jesus did this, he stood up against the injustice of the establishment, we can do the same, but we must never hit downwards. We should support the lower people, in Jesus’ day this was the widow, the orphan and the stranger. In our day we can add any who are marginalised by society. The rough sleepers, the homeless, asylum seekers, LGBT+, being meek and gentle towards them, never hitting down but hitting up, taking their cause to those in power and who would stand against them.

Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. It is not about me, it is not about you, but it does fight on behalf of others, especially those unable to fight for themselves. Meek people inspired by the Holy Spirit will not seek self-interest but will seek the good of others. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit this is from the same root word. May God give us his Spirit of meekness and gentleness.

 

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