Sunday, March 9, 2014

Monday March 10, 2014 Matthew 5:5

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”  --Matthew 5:5

What does it mean to be meek?  I decided to do a “Tracy”, and look it up in the dictionary.  Three definitions were provided:
1. humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
3. (Obsolete) gentle; kind.
The second definition is what I formally thought of as being “meek.”  And so I am especially struck by the first definition!  Being humbly patient or docile with anyone who is trying to provoke is quite the challenge!  In fact, I sit here, trying to think of a time when I was able to do such a thing—to sit by, and not react—when someone was purposely trying to upset or hassle me.  I can, of course, think of times when a provoker was successful, and I reacted in kind: with negative energy, aimed back at the provoker, or worse, at an innocent third party.  I can also think of times when I simply removed myself from the presence of the provoker, but I did so with a big show of annoyance.  
There are a few times when I remember responding “meekly,” but interestingly, these situations were of a different sort altogether.  In these situations, I was always in a position of less power than the person provoking me.  This effectively left me without recourse to any sort of response.  My only choice was to swallow whateverpunishment the more powerful person dished out.  To respond in any way, and especially against that person, was to risk something big.  
And this insight leads me to think that in this beatitude, Jesus is blessing folks in this type of situation.  He is blessing a person without any power against a more powerful provoker.  Perhaps this beatitude is not to be understood as something we should try to attain, but rather that we should know God to be most especially with folks who are on the losing side of a negative power dynamic.  We are not necessarily called to be more “meek”; instead, we are told that these “meek” ones are notably blessed.    

--Nikki Edleman

6 comments:

Tracy said...

My mind too, went to the second definition but I much prefer the first. It certainly seems more like what Jesus is asking for. Any original language scholars out there? Don't most dictionaries put the definitions in order of preferred usage? Or am I dreaming that? "Humbly patient" makes me think of later in Matthew (chapter 18) when Peter asks "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you up to seven times but up to seventy times seven". I am also fond of obsolete #3. Gentle and kind. Surely anyone who practices gentleness and kindness will be both blessed and a blessing.

Linda Hood said...

Working with presently and formally incarcerated individuals, I had recently spent the day at Sing Sing in Ossining. Sing Sing is by far the most violent environment of all prisons I have worked in. For most of the day I was forced to be meek and accept whatever treatment came my way. The persons in charge enjoyed their power over prisoners and visitors alike, and used it freely. Reflecting on todays post, I too was surprised at the meaning of meek in terms of surrendering in the face of a power struggle. What came to mind and heart for me was the quality of my surrender. Do I surrender in humanly form or in Godly form? Although I was submissive at Sing Sing, I would not say I was meek. Rather than reaching to God to be the source of my joyfully surrender, I contributed to the violence by submitting resentfully, with anger and judgement. I recently read something that stated to rejoice in knowing that all we are is a gift from God, and to embrace and receive both our greatness and smallness. Times I have inflated or deflated my ego has helped no one, is far from meek, and certainly has not praised God. This beatitude offers me time to reflect on some of the ways I have used violence (not physical) to get my way rather than surrendering to the Lord and allowing him to fill me with graceful gentleness.

Linda W said...

"This beatitude offers me time to reflect on some of the ways I have used violence (not physical) to get my way rather than surrendering to the Lord and allowing him to fill me with graceful gentleness." Going to join you in reflecting on this Linda.

kirk maddock said...

The definition I could identify with was the third. I try to be gentle and kind, but clearly don't hit the mark all the time. I think we all need to be aware of people with less power and help protect them. There are so many people that are exploited and taken advantage of, I think it's my responsibility to be aware of this, and not stand back and do nothing. This beatitude says to me that God is aware of the meek and I need to help them as well.

Angie Kays-Burden said...

I think of Christ before His accusers... and not saying a word... to me, it symbolizes the essence of what I think of when I think of "righteous meekness" :)

Jesus knew who He was. He knew God's call on His life. He was able to be silent because He knew these things, and that God would defend Him.

I wonder if we could exhibit more godly meekness when we are more sure of who we are in Christ, and His call on our lives... inheriting the earth, just as God said to Joshua that he would give him the land underneath every step on which their feet walked... so we occupy the spiritual land that God gives us, through a right spirit - I think the word meekness has been ruined because of how we interpret it today, but perhaps we can restore it to its original meaning...

Tracy said...

Angie. ..Ding ding ding ... Yes of course... Jesus' example. We can be meek in the godly way He was to the extent to which we trust and embrace the fact that no matter what we see with our worldly eyes, God will protect and provide and He is a God of justice:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21 ESV)