“Happy Are the Mild-tempered Ones”
WHAT food for thought is found in the “beatitudes” or felicities, the “happinesses” that Jesus Christ spoke in his Sermon on the Mount! We can study and ponder over them with much profit to mind and heart, for they are literally loaded with divine wisdom, inspired prophecy and right principles. All such is true, for example, of the third of these felicities, “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.”—Matt. 5:5.
What does it mean to be mild-tempered, and who are the mild-tempered ones that will inherit the earth? To be mild-tempered is to exercise gentleness in conduct or action, not being harsh or unfeeling. The Greek word here rendered “mild-tempered” is praús. It has the meaning of gentleness coupled with power; strength under control. It is a word that is also used to describe a wild animal that has been tamed.
Who are the mild-tempered that will inherit the earth? Certainly they would include Jesus Christ himself, for, above all men that ever lived on this earth, he was mild-tempered. As he himself said: “Come to me, . . . for I am mild-tempered.” Concerning him and his triumphal ride into Jerusalem, it was written: “Look! Your King is coming to you, mild-tempered.”—Matt. 11:28, 29; 21:5.
That Jesus Christ, as the preeminent mild-tempered one, will inherit the earth other scriptures make clear. Jehovah God has appointed him to be “heir of all things,” including this earth. In fact, ‘the nations are to be his inheritance, and the ends of the earth his possession.’—Heb. 1:2; Ps. 2:7, 8.
This inheritance Jesus Christ shares, even as he does his Kingdom rule, with his anointed footstep followers, for they are to be “heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ.” These are the ones the apostle John saw in vision standing upon heavenly Mount Zion and who number 144,000.—Rom. 8:17; Rev. 14:1.
While the statement “happy are the mild-tempered ones” is thus seen to have specific and primary application to Jesus Christ and his Kingdom associates, it, nevertheless, states a principle that has wider application. As the psalmist David wrote: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth.”—Ps. 37:10, 11.
Yes, in the foretold coming new order, after God the Almighty has done away with all wickedness on earth, there will be only mild-tempered or meek ones remaining. These will “possess” it, in that they will hold it in trust for Jesus Christ and his Kingdom associates. Why, then even the lower animals will all be mild-tempered, for then there will be no more vicious and ravenous wild beasts: “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isa. 11:6-9.
There is still more meaning to Jesus’ words, for they state a general principle, namely, that those who are mild-tempered will be happy. How so? For one thing, it makes it easier for them to accept instruction. That is why the disciple James wrote that Christians should be “swift about hearing, slow about speaking, slow about wrath” and that they should “accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.”—Jas. 1:19-21.
The mild-tempered person is calm under stress, which makes for better relations with others and which, in turn, is conducive to making him happy. He is inclined toward peace, which is a happy state, even as can be seen from the counsel for Christians “to speak injuriously of no one, not to be belligerent, to be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward all men.”—Titus 3:2.
Being mild-tempered also makes for happiness because it is just the opposite of being hot-tempered. The hot-tempered person is one who is unable to control himself under stress, with the result that he says and does things that he afterward may deeply regret, making him very unhappy. As the inspired proverb puts it: “An answer, when mild, turns away rage, but a word causing pain makes anger to come up.” How true! That is why mature Christians in responsible positions are counseled to deal mildly with erring ones, so as to be able to do the most good possible.—Prov. 15:1; Gal. 6:1.
What will help you to be among the happy ones who are mild-tempered? Knowledge of God’s Word and having His spirit. (Gal. 5:22, 23) In particular will humility help you to be mild-tempered, for the two seem to go together. Thus Jesus said: “I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart,” and the apostle Paul counseled “Walk worthily . . . , with complete lowliness of mind and mildness.” “Clothe yourselves with . . . kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness.”—Matt. 11:29; Eph. 4:1, 2; Col. 3:12.
The modest person, who does not think more highly of himself than he ought to think, the humble person, who is of lowly mind, will not be as likely to take offense, will not be as easily annoyed at irritations as the haughty or proud person, and, therefore, will not be as likely to err by giving expression to hot temper. When one takes time to reflect one cannot but appreciate or understand that to give expression to angry words or deeds is actually to punish another, whether intended or not. Obviously, the humble and modest person is less likely to presume to do this than is the proud one. The archangel Michael set us a good example in this regard, for when contending with Satan the Devil about a certain matter he did not use abusive, angry, hot-tempered speech, but remained calm, mild-tempered, saying simply: “May Jehovah rebuke you.”—Jude 9.
Truly there is much food for thought in Jesus’ words: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” They are inspired prophecy, contain divine wisdom and set out a right principle for all to follow.—Matt. 5:5.