“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and anti-fascist, who was executed in a German concentration camp wrote this about meekness. “The meek are those who renounce all rights of their own for the sake of Jesus Christ. When they are berated, they are quiet. When violence is done to them, they endure it. When they are cast out, they yield. They do not make a scene when injustice is done to them. They do not want rights of their own. They are the ones Jesus says will inherit the earth. It belongs to them who are without rights and power.”
When I feel slighted, cast out and discriminated against, it is hard to renounce my rights to retaliate. I may not always voice my anger, but I don’t renounce my rights to resent either. It feels good to withhold love from those who mistreat me. I try to overlook the wrongdoing, avoid the wrongdoer, and pretend as though I’m not hurt. But deep down, the resentment builds. And it adversely affects my relationship with God and others.
Meekness is what I need. Because I hold on to resentment when people wrong me. Especially when they carry the name of Jesus. For some reason, the wound is worse when it’s inflicted by those who share my faith. Maybe, I expect more and better from them. I forget they are human. Just like me.
Meekness is my enemy number one. I find it hard to renounce all my rights for the sake of Christ. My flesh wants to get even when people hurt me by their actions and lack of actions. They say one thing and do another. When I feel like an outsider among Christians. Like the odd one out. As though I don’t belong. I stick out instead of fit in. And I can’t find the secret code for acceptance into their cliques. My heart grieves from the pain.
So I come to God and ask him if there is something wrong with me. Am I too sensitive? How might things be different in these situations if I am truly meek? What do I need to do?
I am overly sensitive, but it’s because I lean towards thinking too highly of myself. Yet, to be truly meek I must humble myself like Jesus did. He was quiet when accused. He endured beatings, ridicule, and suffering. When he was cast out by family and friends, he yielded. He didn’t speak out against them. He didn’t make a scene when injustice was done to him. He didn’t want his own rights; even though he was God. Jesus set a high bar for meekness.
If I am truly meek, I will follow Jesus’ example. I will yield, endure, and not make a scene when I feel others have wronged me. I will pray for my accusers and love those who are against me. I shouldn’t regard myself highly, expecting people to like me. It’s their prerogative to like or accept me. Regardless of how people mistreat me, I can do my part to live at peace with them. To pray for those who hurt me. And let God deal with my offenders.
If I am truly meek, I will renounce my rights and power to hold on to resentment, which leads to sin against God and others. For sin blocks communication to the divine. God says he hears the prayers of those who do not cherish sin in their hearts. And I can’t afford to lose communication with God! He is my help. My Strength. My hope.
Thus, I will go after meekness; to inherit the good things God has promised me in this life and the life to come. The promise of blessings, protection, and provision for those who humble themselves before him.