MEEKNESS: WHAT IS IT?
We often hear that the Christian ought to be different from
people in the world. This is true. The difference that
Christ makes in our lives should be very noticeable. But,
it is not that the person who is in Christ has to walk
around in a suit and tie or that the Christian woman has to
only use homemade clothes or wear her hair in a certain
way. These things are exterior; that is, superficial (on
the surface). Jesus said that the difference between his
follower and a person of the world is in his inner person,
his character. What the world should see when they look at
the life of a Christian is exactly the inner, spiritual
expressions of humility, compassion, meekness,
righteousness, mercy, purity, peace and faithfulness. When
we begin to manifest these qualities, the world will
clearly see, the Lord will be glorified and more people
will be drawn toward the Way.
One of the least sought attributes is meekness. Someone
once said, "If all God's attributes were offered at
auction, the last one to be sold would be meekness." Few
people understand what it is and fewer still value this
quality that so characterizes the Lord Jesus.
"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth",
Jesus said in Matthew 5:5. What does it mean to be meek?
According to our dictionary, to be meek means you are
"showing patience and humility, gentleness ... easily
imposed upon, submissive". The meek one doesn't throw fits
or fly off the handle under pressure. A good synonym is
"gentle". A meek person is under control.
To be meek does not mean to be weak. A horse, before it is
tamed, is strong but, being wild, is useless to man. After
being tamed it does not lose its strength. It just becomes
tamed, controlled and useful. A good definition for
meekness is "strength under control".
Rome conquered the world but the Christians conquered the
Roman Empire. Nero tossed and turned in his bed in the
royal palace while the Christians slept peacefully in their
prison cells. They found the victory in their redemption
and their courage was a result of their conviction. They
gained patience in their sufferings. Those primitive
Christians acquired spiritual strength, based in the truth,
tempered in persecution and which reflected the image of
the nature of Christ. Let's examine this attribute that is
so very essential in the Christian life: meekness.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF MEEKNESS
Perhaps the most misunderstood quality of the life of
Christ is his gentleness or meekness. He wasn't weak but
strong. Remember how he was arrested, beaten with rods,
scourged with a whip, spit on and mocked. The multitude
called for his death and he was nailed to a Roman cross.
The crowd challenged him, "If you are the Son of God, come
Now consider what he could have done. He could control the
tempest with a word, walk on the water, feed 5,000 people
with a few loaves and fishes and even raise the dead. On
the cross he could have called 10,000 angels to set him
free and destroy that ungrateful generation. But he didn't
do it. Jesus, "committed no sin, nor was deceit found in
His mouth … when He was reviled, did not revile in return;
when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed
Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:22,23).
Listen to what he did say on that cross: "Father, forgive
them for they do not know what they do." Now that is
meekness, properly defined as strength under control,
calmness in the midst of trials and tranquility of soul
even in difficult circumstances.
The meekness of the Messiah was the subject of prophecy in
the Old Testament. or tell of the
characteristics of this person of whom Jehovah said:
"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My
soul delights! He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised
reed He will not break and smoking flax He will not
quench." Jesus did not stand in the streets, shouting, with
his face red from anger, trying to convince the unbelievers
of the errors of their ways. Jesus, according to this
prophecy, did not destroy a broken reed or snuff out a
Think about these two expressions: Back then, a reed or
small rod was used like either a ruler or walking cane. If
you broke it, it became useless. This broken reed
represents a weak, fragile person. How did Jesus look at
weak, frail people? He did not despise them. Jesus, among
the weak, despised or outcasts, showed patience and
sympathy. He identified with them, treated them with
respect and lifted them to a higher plane. He didn't
discard them; rather, he treated them with greater care. He
The smoldering wick was similar to this. When a candle or
oil lamp goes out, the wick begins to smolder and smoke.
That could be irritating to the eyes so the easiest thing
to do was to reach over and pinch the wick. It quickly goes
out. That smoldering wick represents an irritating,
inconvenient person. How did Jesus treat that kind of
person? He put up with them! Instead of getting rid of
them, he took care of them. Jesus did not stomp on weak,
obnoxious, problematic, immature people!
Jesus did not promote weakness but tolerance and so was
able to help the weak become strong. He did not load them
down with burdens too heavy for them to bear. He always
called people to behave well and to be of good character
but, at the same time, he understood and put up with the
silliness and immaturities of the weak. Jesus was on the
side of the weak. He never stopped being gentle.
It may seem strange to say but Jesus did not leave his
meekness when he expelled the moneychangers from the
temple. He was not out of control. Rather, he knew exactly
what he was doing. He didn't stop being meek in Matthew 23
when he denounced the hypocrites: "Serpents, brood of
vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?" Nor
will he cease to be meek when, one day, he "is revealed
from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking
vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do
not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2
Thessalonians 1:7, 8). To be meek doesn't mean you don't
fight against evil, rebuke the sinner or try to correct an
injustice. Some times force must be used. We must take
action, speak out, resist, but we just do it the right way,
Jesus' way, the controlled way.
Meekness is in the list of attributes the Spirit produces
in the life of the Christian . This means that,
when the Spirit of God is controlling our lives, we will
not have that desire to return evil for evil toward that
person that provokes us. When criticized, we will not
explode in anger. When we are mistreated, we are able to
forgive the one who hurt us. This is meekness.
To be meek does not mean that we give in to all evil
desires or injustices of others. False doctrine has to be
corrected. Sin must be rejected; Oppression and injustice
must be fought, but always in a controlled manner. Our
opposition to wrongdoing must be without bitterness,
nastiness or disequilibrium.
We ought to treat people with respect . We should correct
the brethren with care and delicately. Being meek, gentle
people, we can treat people like packages labeled with
signs that say, "FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE". Human beings
are frail. Let's be careful not to hurt them with our words
of resentment or with rough handling. Let's treat people
with great care and tenderness, especially those who are
far away from God.
The Bible speaks about gentleness especially with respect
to women. Our society, with advertising, films, soap
operas, books and magazines, is constantly deceiving women.
They hear on every hand that, to be popular and attractive,
they have to be "sexy" and sensual. They are constantly
bombarded with the lie that beauty is the result of
physical characteristics and that a little botox injected
in the lips, a thinner nose or bigger bust makes them
beautiful. That is one of Satan's lies. The Bible
emphasizes that inner qualities make a woman beautiful and
attractive. 1 Peter 3:3, 4 says "Do not let your adornment
be merely outward; arranging the hair, wearing gold, or
putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person
of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and
quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of
It is not a sin to be pretty. In fact, God created the
woman to be attractive and pleasing to the man. God doesn't
condemn the woman who is outwardly pretty. There is no
virtue in purposefully dressing shabbily. The Bible says
there is something much more important and basic that
attracts and impresses the man. It is purity, reverence; it
is a gentle, quiet spirit that can influence the man for
good. With time, the physical body loses its shape, the
face gets lines and blemishes but the gentle spirit gets
more beautiful every day. "Growing old gracefully" is
better than growing old disgracefully.
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Do you holler at
family or colleagues?
2. When falsely
accused, do you defend yourself with excessive
3. Do you insist in
having the last word in a discussion?
4. Would your
associates be astonished if you became enraged at
5. Do you have the
reputation as a person who remains calm in the middle
of a tempest?
6. Do you try to
choose words that will not hurt someone's
7. Do you try to get
even with the person who hurts you?
8. Do you want to
fight with the person who breaks in front of you in
9. When you rebuke
someone, does it make you feel good to see them
embarrassed or angry?
10. Are you able to
remain kind, gentle and submissive when you are
fighting against some injustice?