Blessed are the Meek Jim Stegall
Updated: Mar 10
In our day, meekness has been closely associated with weakness and/or powerlessness. Yet, when Christ teaches us that the meek are blessed and will inherit the earth, he is not using the word in that way. Meekness, I believe, is best understood as power under control. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, seeks people who are meek as being "those who have swords and know how to use them, but keep them sheathed." A meek person is not someone powerless, but someone who wields power with humility and responsibility.
Many in our world see their power and authority as something to be used to solidify their reputation or social status, but Christ calls us to use our authority to serve others, show mercy, demonstrate patience, and empower others. The spirit of this world thinks in terms of strength, power, ability, self-assuredness, and aggression, but Christ showed us that humility is the true way of greatness in God’s eyes. We see this not only in Christ’s teachings and life example but also in the lives of others in the Bible.
Joseph is a great example of meekness. Despite being sold into slavery and staged as dead by his brothers (Genesis 37), Joseph still showed them kindness when they needed food (Genesis 45). Rather than using his authority to exact revenge on his brothers when he had the opportunity, he mercifully served them. David is another example. Though anointed as the chosen king of Israel by Samuel (1 Samuel 16), he still served Saul until the very end of Saul’s life. He was the chosen king, yet he remained humble when Israel chanted his name and sought to place him onto Saul’s throne. Paul’s relationship with the Corinthian church also shows the importance of meekness in our lives. The Corinthians were accusing Paul of weakness because of the humility with which he used when amongst them, yet he shares that it was for their benefit (2 Corinthians 10). Despite being the highly regarded Apostle Paul, he approached them with gentleness, saying, "it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends."
Lastly, Jesus gave us the ultimate example of meekness. Despite being God himself, God in the flesh, he was "meek and lowly in heart." (Matthew 11:29) The one who stretched out the heavens like a curtain dwelt here amongst us. Paul tells the Philippians that even though Jesus was God himself, he emptied himself to the point of a torturous death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). And truly that cross is the greatest act of meekness ever known in history—greater than we can ever fully comprehend. On the cross we see God crucified for those who deserved nothing but hell. Though punishment and condemnation were our portion, he showed us mercy and died the death that we deserved. According to Paul, this is the example we are to follow, the example of power used to serve others rather than self.