A fellow blogger believes I am a coward. According to this name-calling, bomb-lobbing sister-in-Christ I am, as she so elegantly phrased it, “a coward for the Lord.” Apparently because Jesus called the Jewish leadership ‘hypocrite’, ‘den of vipers’, ‘white washed sepulchers of death full of dead men’s bones’, ‘liars’, ‘completely evil’, ‘dunces’ etc, Christians conducting themselves meekly are straying from Jesus’ own example. Because I chose to make my case void of the degrading commentary my fellow Christian so capably spews toward those who were very clearly in the wrong, I am a pathetic doormat. A coward.
To be meek in today’s terms is to be a sissy. Bombastic proclamations and vicious attacks are the currency of our anonymous electronic interludes. Who cares that you would never say such things to someone in person? If it bleeds it leads, right?
Many, including misguided Christians, equate meekness with weakness. Perhaps the difference is too subtle? Weakness is an absence of power. Biblical meekness, on the other hand, is power under control.
Jesus was the consummate example of meekness. Many choose to saddle Jesus with the mantle of a vacuous hippie-type “Hey man, let’s all just be cool” persona. In other words, a spineless, passive, effeminate peacenik. He was not. Nor was he an obnoxious self-promoter of His divine power. He chose to display His power only when it furthered the purpose of His first advent: seeking and saving the lost.
In today’s arena you might witness meekness when the passionate, well-educated advocate of the constitution chooses to let slide an embarrassing dinner party proclamation that “separation of church and state is in the constitution.” (Yeah, it ain’t.) Meekness is allowing your five-year-old to pin you in a wrestling match. Meekness is having the ability to eviscerate your opponent, but instead restraining yourself in order to preserve the relationship. Meekness is one who is victorious but allows the victory, instead of touting their prowess, to speak for itself.
You getting the picture? How about having the power to call legions of angels to your side and wipe out your tormentors while hanging on a cross… and choosing not to? What about voluntarily laying aside One’s godhood and taking on the form of a servant, then dying like one? Meekness never satisfies ego. Meekness keeps its eye on the end game.
Unfortunately for us “cowards” this necessitates enduring a painful process.
Like so many other Christian virtues, meekness, doesn’t come naturally to me. Before I am able to formulate a measured reply to an insult, my initial response is to call out, shame and diminish my opponent. Of course, in this mock scenario, I appear fiercely fabulous to the assembled throngs. As further testimony to my true nature, I enjoy chewing on every potential insulting morsel, every vicious character jab and every cyber smack down. Then? Thankfully, Christ (usually) grabs hold of me, and a pertinent scriptural directive about how to interact with my enemies springs to mind, and the new, better nature wrestles the old to the ground.
One commentary states: Meekness is a grace which Jesus alone inculcated, and which no ancient philosopher seems to have understood or recommended.
Unless you are living for something greater than yourself, meekness is utterly ridiculous. It often takes you backward in the social and political systems of our world. Unless your gaze is fixed on a reward that is beyond the temporal, meekness probably isn’t the strategy for you. But the powerful Author and Perfector of meekness was striving for an eternal and invisible good, which allowed Him to patiently endure slander, torture and the death of a criminal.
And then came the victory.