Friday, June 09, 2006

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

We have all seen the small-framed women with short hair and big eyes cowering behind some huge hairy husband afraid to say a word without his approval. When the unseen signal of approval is received she opens her mouth for a one-word answer to your question in a small “mousy” voice and an apologetic smile and then goes running back behind the husband as if in retreat from battle. I ran into this couple at a recent event we attended together. She was literally one-third the size of her husband, never left his side, and spoke only when there was no other option available. This is the person we give many names to: mousy, shy, insecure, bashful, meek, quiet, unassertive, and timid.

Wait a minute. Let’s play the Sesame Street game of “One of these things just doesn’t belong here!” Which of those names or labels really doesn’t describe this woman? Meek. We call mousy, quiet and timid people meek. That is not a description of a meek person. Let me give you a better definition of meekness. Meekness is controlled strength.

I used to wrestle on the living room floor with my kids when they were young, much to the chagrin of my wife. I would take on all three of them as toddlers and we would laugh and giggle until finally they ended up pinning me to the carpet with all on top of me. If I wanted, I could have easily thrown them off and across the room, but I didn’t want to. For reasons of love, joy, peace, patience and self control I didn’t WANT to. It was a decision I made to be meek.

This woman I describe may have been meek, I don’t know for sure. But what I do know is that people have a skewed view of what it means to be meek. We don’t consider meek people as strong people who simply control their strength. We run into situations every day where we need to be meek. At work and at home, with friends and with family, we face situations were we could control it, muscle it, silence it, or push it out of the way … but we don’t. We chose meekness instead. Have chosen meekness lately, enough? If you have you “shall inherit the earth.”

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