Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Grace Full

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. -- Isaiah 29:19

Empathy is the word that came to mind this morning.  It doesn’t quite line up with meekness, but they seem to me to be related.  I cannot imagine a genuinely meek person not being able to recognize and share in the feelings of others at least to some degree.  A truly empathetic person would also be unlikely to be excessively self-exalting.  A degree of empathy is necessary for us to exist in social relationships.  The sociopath is perhaps entirely free from relating to the pain of another person.

Meekness may have once meant a sort of inoffensive mildness.  Maybe it still means that outside of Christianity.  I struggle with a lot of things, meekness, possibly, most of all.  It is only a couple of letters from “weakness”.   I don’t like weakness, and I don’t see any godliness or holiness in weakness.  Jesus, though, took meekness and made it something else:   Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

To the Master, to whom all power and authority was given, meekness meant a blend of spiritual strength and poise.  It is a gentleness that exists because of the strength behind it.  You see it when a strong man picks up a baby.  There is no struggle in it but a delicacy, like a dancer who makes difficult movements look effortless. 

Meekness, then, is a manifestation of grace.  As we have been the beneficiaries of God’s grace, we practice it among those around us.  We can afford gentleness with others because the strength of Christ backs us up.


julie said...

I'm reminded of the archetypal "gentle giant" - the outsized person who nevertheless puts himself at the level of those smaller than himself.

neal said...

The Greek used for the word "meek" means "strength under power".
In other words, the power to kill tempered by the love of life.
Little gods minding their tempers.