“Blessed Are the Meek”
JESUS Christ, the greatest man that ever lived, encouraged meekness by both precept and example. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” said he, and he urged others, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” Because of not understanding what it means to be meek, however, many have a distorted view of Jesus Christ. Thus in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, facing page 384, there appear twenty artists’ conceptions of what Jesus looked like. Except for one or two, these portray him to be either feminine or ascetic.—Matt. 5:5; 11:29, AV.
But Jesus was a strong, masculine character; in fact, the strongest that ever walked the earth. He had perfect control at all times of his thinking, emotions and bodily movements. He astounded his listeners with the authority with which he spoke, and did not hesitate to utter scathing denunciations of the religious leaders of his day because of their hypocrisy and greed. Soldiers sent to arrest him were so impressed that they failed to carry out their mission. Twice he drove money-changers and other racketeers out of his Father’s temple. When an armed mob came to take him on the last night of his life as a man, his bold statement and manner caused them to fall back. Obviously he was not the diffident, weak and spineless person that most persons associate with the term “meek.”
Then what does it mean to be meek? It has been said that a meek person is a teachable one. True, one who is meek is willing to be taught, but meekness includes far more than that. Bearing this out are the definitions given for “meek”: “gentle or mild of temper; self-controlled and gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; forbearing under injury or annoyance.” In modern Bible translations the terms “mild” and “gentle” frequently replace the term “meek” found in older versions. No question about Jesus’ being meek. And another notable example of meekness found in the Scriptures is that of Moses, whom God’s holy spirit inspired to write: “The man Moses was by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground.”—Num. 12:3.
Meekness or mildness is the fruitage of God’s holy spirit: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, . . . mildness.” Being meek is just the opposite of being proud, greedy, impatient, ruthless, contentious or aggressive. One who is lacking in mildness or meekness likes to strut, is harsh, gruff, easily aroused and difficult to please; he is one who elbows his way through life and who is ever ready to quarrel. In particular, therefore, is mildness or meekness recommended to wives as part of their adornment: “the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God.”—Gal. 5:22, 23; 1 Pet. 3:4.
WHY BE MEEK OR MILD
Why? Because it is the course of justice and love. It is in line with God’s command: “You must love your neighbor as yourself,” and with Jesus’ command: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them; this, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.”—Matt. 22:39; 7:12.
Meekness or mildness is also the course of wisdom. It makes it easy for us to receive instruction that leads to everlasting life. Meekness makes us mild, gentle, refreshing and easy to get along with. It makes it easy for others to approach us. Jesus was that way: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”—Matt. 11:28-30.
That meekness or mildness is the course of wisdom James shows: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show out of his right conduct his works with a meekness that belongs to wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is the earthly, animal, demonic.”—Jas. 3:13-15.
The wise person gets results, and to get results in dealing with others we must avoid harshness and strife. It is part of human nature to resent pressures, because God planted in our hearts a love of freedom. Pressure implies bondage to the proud and unloving. Therefore anyone who has oversight of others will get better cooperation from them if he is mild-tempered, for thereby he makes co-operation a pleasure, as something voluntarily given, not forced. And especially is mildness essential for those who would teach others, be they parents, schoolteachers or music teachers or Christian ministers. Because of principles we may at times need to be firm and unyielding, but never do we need to be harsh, domineering, coercive, as though we would ram the facts down the throats of those we are trying to teach.
The wise person will use a winsome, mild, loving and gentle method. He will depend upon the appeal of the principles, logic and beauty of his message to hold his hearers and to influence them. That is why Peter counseled Christians to be able to give “a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.” It might even be stated that the more difficult it is to manifest mildness in a certain situation, the more vital it is that we do it, even as the apostle Paul reminds us: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be tactful toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.”—1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:24, 25.
GOD LOOKS AFTER THE MEEK
God’s Word holds out many promises to those who are meek. “The meek ones will eat and be satisfied.” “He will teach the meek ones his way.” “Jehovah is relieving the meek ones.” “With righteousness shall [Christ] judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.” And what is implicit in all these promises? That the meek will receive justice and prosperity without having to let go of their meekness in dealing with their neighbors.—Ps. 22:26; 25:9; 147:6; Isa. 11:4, AS.
In view of the nearness of God’s day of anger, of particular interest to the meek ones is his promise: “Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth, that have kept his ordinances; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” That day of his anger is elsewhere described as “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” Armageddon.—Zeph. 2:3, AS; Rev. 16:14, 16.
After Armageddon wipes this earth clean of its violence and wickedness, even as did the flood of Noah’s day, there will begin a new system of things, ‘a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness is to dwell.’ Then the whole earth will be made a paradise, even as was the garden of Eden, in line with Jehovah’s original purpose for this earth, as indicated by his command to our first parents: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” That new world will be one of love, peace and happiness. Persons who refuse to become meek will not be allowed to continue in it, for they would interfere with the happiness of others as well as be miserable themselves.—2 Pet. 3:13; Gen. 1:28.
Will that mark the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”? No, at least not primarily. Those words, first uttered by the psalmist David, apply first of all to the pre-eminently meek One, Jesus Christ, to whom his Father, Jehovah God, said: “Ask of me, that I may give nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your own possession.” Inheriting the earth is part of his reward for his meek and faithful course while a man.—Matt. 5:5, AS; Ps. 2:8.
Sharing this inheritance with Jesus Christ will be his “bride,” those footstep followers of his, limited to 144,000, who will receive a heavenly reward. (Rev. 14:1, 3) Thus the apostle Paul tells them: “If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ.” Jesus refers to these specially favored followers of his as a “little flock.” However, the principle enunciated at Matthew 5:5 applies also to Jesus’ other sheep who, as meek ones, will receive everlasting life on earth. How so? In that they will hold the earth in trust for Christ and his bride, permanent tenants, as it were.—Rom. 8:17; Luke 12:32; John 10:16.
So let all who would enjoy the blessings of Jehovah God in his new world show their faith in him and their love for him and their fellow man by pursuing “righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, mildness of temper.”—1 Tim. 6:11.