Jesus continued His Inaugural Address, saying, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). His ideas were new and no doubt captivating to His audience. He had already talked about the poor in spirit and those who mourn; then, He brought up the meek and their inheritance. Everyone likes to hear their name connected to an inheritance, but what was this prerequisite of meekness and what did it mean to inherit the earth?
A simple definition of meekness is a humble and correct attitude of our spirits towards others. People read and hear our spirits more than what we say. They discern our spirits by how we respond to them. A meek person interacts with others and responds with a humble attitude no matter how it’s addressed. What does it look like and how does it behave?
- Meekness does not incite.
- Meekness does not answer in anger.
- Meekness is not weakness, or the absence of backbone.
- Meekness does not blurt, it is not brash, nor is it filled with indignation.
- Meekness controls its responses.
- Meekness is quiet with heroic, inner strength.
- Meekness weeps for the wrongdoer rather than the wrongs received.
- Meekness is calm in spite of emotional, mental, spiritual or physical storms.
- Meekness remains humble in thought, word, and deed before God and man.
The Bible says, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Yet, he suffered a lapse of his meekness. It happened when the children of Israel, whom he was leading, provoked his spirit.
“Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” (Psalm 106:33)
They irritated him to the point that he spoke rashly. Groucho Marx once said, “If you speak when you’re angry, you’ll make the biggest speech you’ll ever live to regret.” When we are meek, we have a right and humble attitude. We can control our responses and prevent the use of damaging words.
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of inquity:
So is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body,
and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire from hell.”
When we speak with meekness, we produce words with a positive effect. Jesus gave the perfect example of a meek response when, just before his death, his accusers reviled him.
“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (1 Peter 2:23)
To revile means to speak against or to criticize in an angry manner. Though others reviled Him, He did not respond in kind. As He suffered, He did not threaten. He heard what they were saying, just as we hear those who criticize us.
The thoughts of the meek are far deeper than a surface, knee-jerk reaction. They do not give a quick and shallow response. A meek person commits himself to God. He knows God is in control; therefore, he doesn’t need to defend himself or counter attack. He calmly trusts God to handle all outcomes. He is free to go forward enjoying life.