Wed Oct 18-Meek or Weak?

Matthew 5:5 (NRSV)

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.


None of us aspires to be meek.

I mean, who would? Look up the definition and it usually talks about someone who is “submissive” or “easily imposed upon.”

Meekness just doesn’t fit with our American values. We believe in speaking up for ourselves and others, fighting for the things we need (even the things we just want). If I’m honest, that’s what I aspire to. I aspire to be strong and tough and not to take cr*p from anyone. Meekness is weakness.

If we adopt this as our attitude, though, let’s be honest: we’re going to have a whole lot of problems with how the gospels turn out for Jesus.

Betrayed by a friend? Check. Jesus doesn’t plot revenge.

Arrested for no reason? Check. But Jesus won’t let his disciples defend him (in fact, he heals the man Peter injures in Luke 22:50-51).

Falsely accused of crimes? Check. Jesus offers zero defense of his actions (Mark 15:4).

Executed on a cross? Check. Even though Jesus admits he could call upon legions of angels to save him (Matthew 26:53).

Jesus is meek. Certainly he’s easily imposed upon. You might even say he’s submissive. But would you say Jesus is weak? I don’t think so. So maybe our categories are all wrong.

Part of the Jewish notion of meekness is about a willingness to submit humbly to God. Can you imagine someone who is aggressive, critical, or hyper-competitive with other people readily submitting to God?

Neither can I. That suggests to me that meekness is an essential component of the spiritual life – that we can’t become experts in submitting to God without also learning what it means to submit ourselves to others (at least some of the time!)

by Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

Do you see Jesus as weak, or do you admire his meekness? How do you feel when you practice self-restraint instead of challenging slights or insults that come your way? How do those moments of restraint help you to grow closer to God?

Prayer: Precious Jesus, help to me recognize today that I don’t need to answer anyone insult-for-insult. Help me to find peace in my own Spirit as I learn when to fight back and when to trust you to fight back for me. Teach me to embrace meekness today, Lord. Amen.

Scroll to Top