Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Meekness Without Weakness

There is no Biblical virtue so commonly caricatured today as meekness. In fact, it has become so bad that many modern translations refuse to use the word. But in changing the word, they end up changing the meaning. Therefore, it seems to me better to use the word, but to define it. Especially since I suspect that in losing the word, we are in danger of losing the concept. Today meekness is commonly connected with cowardice. It is people who do not defend themselves because they are too scared to. The basic idea is that everyone should stand up for themselves, and if you do not, it is because you lack the will. This is not at all the Biblical definition. The Biblical definition is people who refuse to retaliate or seek their own from restraint and trust in God (Romans 12:14-21; Matthew 5:43-48; Philippians 2:3,4). We see the ultimate example of this in the Lord Jesus Christ, who became a Man and died a criminal's death for our sake (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18; 1 Peter 2:21-25). He could have defended Himself, but chose not to (Matthew 26:53; Luke 23:34; Isaiah 53:7). But nowhere do we see any signs of cowardice or weakness. Now I do believe there are times when we need to act in defense of others or ourselves. What is advocated here is an attitude. One that is rooted in trust in God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; 37:3-9), rather than standing on our own rights. It is in this spirit that we are to understand turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-42). An eye for an eye was originally a legal enactment, but it had been turned into a lifestyle. The first response to a wrong done to us should not be to retaliate. This is something that is not done from a position of weakness, but one of strength.

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts Mike. Always gives me a chuckle when I read of Moses being identified as the meekest man on earth. (Numbers 12:3)