Since our current sermon series is focused on Jesus' sermon on the mount, we are re-sharing our blog series on the beatitudes.
One of the most misunderstood beatitudes.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
- Matthew 5:5
When you hear the word “meek,” what comes to mind? You see, the problems people have with this beatitude is our society does not understand the word “meek” as it is used in the Bible. When people hear “meek,” they tend to think of people who are quiet and timid. In fact, one dictionary definition of meek is “evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant.”
Given that definition, it’s no surprise people are confused by this beatitude. However, as you will see, the definition of meek in the Bible is not referring to someone who will never speak up. In fact, meekness is a character trait we should strive to possess. Meek is having the wisdom to practice restraint and trust God.
Meekness is Not Weakness
Meekness is often confused with weakness. It’s not simply rhyming words. We often mistakenly believe someone who is quiet is weak. Is that always true? Have you ever known someone who possesses quiet strength? Someone who knows how to stay calm under pressure? Someone who shows wisdom by only speaking the right words at the right time? If so, you wouldn’t call this person weak, would you? Instead, you probably believe they possess strength of character. This character trait is called meekness.
Being Meek Does Not Mean Being a Doormat
Along these same lines, people often think being meek means being a doormat, and letting people walk all over you. They misinterpret it to believe it’s not standing up for oneself or personal beliefs. This is not true of meek people. Those who are meek do not fret or retaliate. They may feel anger at times. They will stand up for the truth when necessary, but they will do so with carefully chosen wise words with impeccable timing rather than blurting everything that comes to mind.
Meekness Means Having Power Under Control
If meekness does not mean weakness, what does it mean? According to Warren Wiersbe’s Be Loyal, “This word ‘meek’ was used by the Greeks to describe a horse that had been broken. It refers to power under control.” Think about this for a minute. Horses are powerful creatures, yet they have been brought under control by their owners so they are useful creatures.
Therefore, when Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek,” He was referring to those who place themselves under God’s authority and control as useful, obedient servants. They follow God’s leading. They trust Him. They go where He tells them to go. They do what He tells them to do. They do not run wild even though they can.
Submission, Trust, Patience, and Gentleness
Those who are meek submit to God. They recognize their need for a Savior, and understand they are not in control. Rather than being prideful and having an inflated self-image, those who are meek choose to see their weakness and find their strength in God. Through this submission, they place their trust in God. They are confident in God’s plans, even when things don’t work out for them. Instead of fretting or becoming emotional, they wait quietly and patiently on the Lord.
Again, this does not denote weakness. Instead, the wisdom of this person’s character is evident and brings tremendous glory to God.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
– James 3:17
Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger
By practicing restraint instead of being reactionary, the meek person also illustrates another Biblical attitude.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”
– James 1:19
Those who are meek understand the importance of listening before speaking or reacting. They still have opinions and share their beliefs, but simply choose their words and timing carefully.
Moses and Jesus Were Meek
If you are still unsure this is a beatitude attitude you need, think again. We are called to follow Jesus, and Jesus, himself, was meek. Moses was also meek. Do you picture either of them as men who were quiet pushovers? Absolutely not! Instead, the Biblical record shows they submitted to God and practiced restraint. They chose their words carefully, but they also stood up for truth.
Meekness is choosing to pray and trust God instead of fretting and taking matters into your own hands. As Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes, these people are blessed. Consider it – when we give God control, we find an inner peace regardless of our circumstances. What a blessing!
Be sure to join us all through the summer for our current series Summer on the Mount: A Beginner's Guide to Experiencing Heaven on Earth. Part one specifically covered the beatitudes. You can watch it here: