The meek bridle their lust for power and live to serve others. “The ‘politics’ of the Kingdom,” says Scott Bessenecker, “has more to do with meekness, submission and dying to self than it does with exercising authority to increase my share in this life (emphasis mine).”[i]
Some outside observers evaluate Jesus’ words about being good to our enemies and forgiving trespassers as weakness, even masochistic. But anyone who thinks it’s weak to be meek should try being meek for a week! (Say that out loud for full effect.) Ironically it takes a lot of strength to be meek. Not the kind of strength you get in the gym, but the kind you get on your knees––so to speak.
Meekness is not the default position of our broken humanity. Even regenerated humanity doesn’t arrive at meekness involuntarily. You don’t just wake up one morning, make a resolution, and succeed at it. You don’t achieve a broken spirit so much as receive it in your own post-crucifixion resurrections. The harsh reality is that meekness requires dying. That’s why so few of us pursue it.[ii]
Who but Jesus could say with a straight face and without pretense,“I am meek and lowly in heart”?[iii] Yet he never showed the slightest sign of cowardice. Instead of commissioning the legions of angels at his disposal, he permitted a relatively meager cohort of soldiers to take him and nail him to a cross. That’s meekness––power under the control of the powerful.
[i] Bessenecker, How to Inherit the Earth, 53.
[ii] Bessenecker, How to Inherit the Earth, 54.
[iii] Matthew 11:29
(This is an excerpt from my book: WHAT ON EARTH? Considering the Social Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount)
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