By Tope Banso
MEEKNESS IS NOT WEAKNESS!
“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth” (Acts 8:32-33 New King James Version).
While teaching what is popularly called the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 New King James Version). My focus in this message is on that phrase, “the meek.”
Meekness is not weakness! When someone is weak, it means, among other things, that he lacks power or strength. But that is not what meekness means. The meek have strength, but they have disciplined their strength. The Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary defines meekness as, “a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked.” Meekness is refraining to use your strength, power or right, which may give another an advantage.
Don’t confuse the meek with the weak. If a man is weak, let him seek strength, and not pretend that he is meek! That will be mere pretence not meekness! The meek, the Bible is talking about, don’t lack strength or power. They have only decided to bring their strength or power under control; they have restrained themselves. These are the people Jesus said would inherit the earth.
The New Living Translation renders the phrase, “the meek”, in Matthew 5:5, as, “those who are gentle and lowly.” So from there, we also understand that to be meek means to be gentle and lowly – bringing your strength under control in your relationship with people, particularly in negative circumstances.
The Greek word for “meek” in Matthew 5:5 is praus, meaning humble, gentle. Jesus said such people will inherit the earth. Psalm 37:11 says a similar thing: “But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (New King James Version).
But right before that verse, Psalm 37:11, there is a relevant statement in verse 9: “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth” (New King James Version). There is a relationship between those who wait on the LORD and the meek – the writer is talking about the same people. The meek wait upon the LORD. The Hebrew word for meek in Psalm 37:11 is anav, meaning poor, humble, afflicted, meek.
The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary differentiates between meekness and weakness thus: “An attitude of humility toward God and gentleness toward men, springing from a recognition that God is in control. Although weakness and meekness may look similar, they are not the same. Weakness is due to negative circumstances, such as lack of strength or lack of courage. But meekness is due to a person’s conscious choice. It is strength and courage under control, coupled with kindness.”
That quote tells us that meekness is an attitude of humility towards God and gentleness towards men. And relationship with God and man is the summary of human existence. God doesn’t expect that we shall be humble towards Him but lack gentleness – tenderness, calmness, kindness, peacefulness – in our relationship with fellow humans, especially under provocation. Jesus said all the other commandments are based on the first and greatest commandment, which is to love God and on the second, which is to love one’s neighbour, fellow human beings (Matthew 22:34-40).
From that quote on meekness, we also see that meekness is described as, “strength and courage under control, coupled with kindness.” But another very important thing to note in that quote is that meekness is, “an attitude of humility toward God and gentleness toward men, springing from a recognition that God is in control.”
When someone knows that God is in control, he doesn’t allow himself to be provoked by what people do or say against him. The Bible says of Jesus, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth” (Acts 8:32-33 New King James Version).
He did that not because he was weak, but because He was meek. At his arrest, Jesus told a disciple, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:52-54 New King James Version). Jesus wasn’t making an empty boast.
John 18:10 tells us that the sword-wielding disciple was Peter and the victim, the high priest’s servant, was Malchus. Later at his trial, Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” (John 19:10 New King James Version).
If he had thought Jesus would beg him to release Him, he was wrong. Jesus replied, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin” (verse 11 New King James Version). Meekness!
It is a rare attribute – to have strength, power or right and refuse to use it, even at the point of provocation, but be kind to others. On the cross, while all the humiliation was going on, Jesus remained calm; He didn’t fight back; He didn’t curse those who sponsored or participated in His unjust crucifixion; He knew it was the will of God for Him to die. However, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34 New King James Version). He was kind to those who killed Him. Meekness!
Stephen, the first Christian martyr, later emulated Jesus, as he was being stoned to death. He didn’t ask God to avenge his death. He was kind to those who killed him. He knew God was in control of his life. Calling on his Savior and Mentor, the Lord Jesus, to receive his spirit, he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60 New King James Version). After this, he fell asleep – he died.
Meekness is not weakness. Oh, that you and I will possess the spirit of meekness! Oh, that we will clothe ourselves with meekness! (Colossians 3:12). We need to cultivate an attitude of humility towards God and gentleness towards human beings.
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINT: Holy Spirit, help me to cultivate the spirit of meekness.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 250 in-depth and insightful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪ Banso, an Abuja-based minister, heads Cedar Ministry International, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523 ; WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
What is the actual difference between meekness and weakness?
By Tope Banso