Good day parents of amazing kids!
If you were going to create a list of necessary qualities you would hope your child would look for in a spouse someday, what would that list include?
Seriously, could you name the three most important things in your head right now? (If you feel like it, I’d love to hear that answer from you! Feel free to email back with your answer…)
So here’s my question: how big would your list of desirable attributes have to be to include meekness?
Meekness is both completely misunderstood, and also under-emphasized as a beautiful quality to pursue. So let’s clear it up: Meekness is power under control. It is not synonymous with weakness (it just happens to rhyme with it so we get confused). In fact, it is fundamentally opposite of weakness. Meekness requires that one HAS power, but that they have their power under control, and that they use it promote, elevate, and help others around them – particularly those who have less power, influence, status, or prestige than they have.
Jesus clearly thought meekness was important. As he was presenting the Sermon on the Mount, he takes the first few lines to outline what a Kingdom Citizen looked like. In other words, he was explaining “this is what people who love and follow me do.” He lays out several blessed qualities – qualities that, if you do them, will make you the most happy because you are most in-line with what God desires for you. And right there, in Matthew 5:5, he says this: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
God wants our power to be under control. He wants us to use our power to humbly help others. He wants us to use the power, influence, status, or prestige we have to lift others up, help those in need, and, in doing so, show love to Him in the process. This is at the core of the Christian life.
We know this to be true because Jesus himself displayed meekness in the most beautiful ways. Most notably, there he was, on the cross, being mocked in the greatest irony in history:
35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
You get, of course, that he could have gotten down, right? But there he was, in the greatest act of meekness – of power under control – that has ever been. Infinite power was being held back for the sin of all of humanity. And Jesus didn’t deserve to die for it. And he stayed… there… anyway…
Or again, in a display of meekness that is perhaps more relatable to us (since we can’t actually die for the sins of the world ourselves) we see the meekness of Jesus in full display as he washes the disciples feet. He does this humble, menial, somewhat-gross task, and then Jesus reminds them of his power – and his display of meekness – in the passage specifically:
…12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Power, prestige, influence, and status in human form, and completely under control and used for the elevation of others. Meekness in the flesh.
WHY THIS MATTERS
It’s certainly true that our world – from our daily interactions to our national politics – is lacking kindness. And kindness is important without question. But sometimes, I think kindness doesn’t go far enough. Being kind to a homeless person doesn’t give them a meal. Being kind to a person wrongly imprisoned doesn’t set them free. And being kind to the marginalized of society doesn’t give them a voice. So be kind, but also be meek. Meekness elevates, helps, pursues justice, and uses power to empower.
Here’s the truth: you will never look more like Jesus than when you are exercising meekness. And you will never look more like Satan than when you don’t.
Mom or Dad, you have power and influence: how are you using them to help and elevate others?
You have power and influence with your kids: how are you loving them and caring for them in light of that?
Your kids have power and influence that is growing with every passing year: how are you teaching them now to use their power for good and for others, rather than for evil and for personal gain?
And finally, if you are at all in the season where your kids are looking for a spouse, or at least dating, talking about meekness with them becomes so important. Outside of loving Jesus, I think meekness might be the most important quality to look for in a lifelong partner. Can you talk with your kids about how to identify and celebrate meekness in others?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving friends.
And I’ll see you at the next Feast. (Hey, that works as a Thanksgiving pun too!!!)