Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.12.2010

Blessed are Those Who Lay Down and Die?

Contemporary society prizes above all other qualities independence, self-assertiveness, and the ability to stand up for what you want and deserve. Numerous are the gurus who proclaim that meekness is a condition that requires psychological help. Take for example the article “How to ditch meekness and walk tall.” The author helpfully begins,

“Are you a meek person? If so, your life may be ruled by others, and it’s time to ditch meekness. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Because meekness is a habitual response to the challenges of life. And it takes time and effort to change ingrained habits. The root of meekness is low self-esteem. When our self-esteem is low, we respond to the challenges of life with doubts and fears….For example, if you were bullied, shut up, abused, or controlled as a child, you may well suffer from meekness. I say 'suffer' because meekness doesn’t make you happy; it leads to an unfulfilled life.”

After all, can you imagine a world that didn’t suffer from the scourge of meekness? It’s a world in which, if someone cuts in line, they are thrown dirty, glaring looks and at the very least receive a sarcastic comment.  It’s a world in which you only need to plant yourself at any customer service desk for a few hours in order to get a feel for how vocally and staunchly otherwise calm people will advocate for themselves if they feel they have been ripped off.

And what if we zoom in closer to home? The chore system in our house works like a well-greased machine most of the time, but if someone is gone, the machine suddenly squeaks to a halt as everyone stands around wondering who in the world could possibly fill in for the extra work. (“Do you think we should we hire a maid to fill in for the day since we couldn’t possibly do chores that weren’t assigned to us?”) Or a sister is playing on the piano, and I march up: “It’s my practice time. Get off.” From giving a ten-point persuasive argument on why we should watch the movie of my choice to making sure that everyone’s schedule revolves around me, the missing quality in all of this is meekness, and a world that doesn’t “suffer” from meekness sounds all too familiar. It is not a world in which I want to live. Standing up for what is right is always good, but standing up for your rights may not always be.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to make sure you aren’t swindled, but I’m asking what would be so very bad about saying when someone cuts in front of you, “Oh here, let me move my things so you have room to set your groceries down.” We have heard the encouragement to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but what would be so wrong about turning the other cheek for someone to slap after they slapped the first one? And “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.(Matthew 5:40-42)”

George Washington is heralded as the Father of our Country—the Father of our independence and Yankee gumption, and he led America to victory against impossible odds. And yet he was a man who refused to be made king in the face of cheering and determined throngs; he was a unanimously popular leader who graciously declined to run for president for a third term, so meek and humble was he. In no other person is Matthew 5:5 better exemplified: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

And blessed are the meek, Jesus says, not cursed are those who suffer from the ailment of meekness. Jesus blesses the quality most abhorred by modern society! We have no ballads for those who quietly work behind the scenes, no awards for the one who gives up her own long-awaited desire so that someone else can enjoy the day, no Oscar-winning movies celebrating the meek. The Greeks viewed meekness as condescension, and today we think the word means laying down and dying. It is one of the most untranslatable words of Scripture, but Bible scholar Zodhiates describes prautes, one of the Greek words translated as “meek” in this way:

Prautes, according to Aristotle, is the middle standing between two extremes, getting angry without reason, and not getting angry at all. Therefore, prautes is getting angry at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason. . . . [I]t is a condition of mind and heart which demonstrates gentleness, not in weakness, but in power. It is a balance born in strength of character[1].

A meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price (I Peter 3:4), and rest assured that it will cost you dearly. But when you really stop to think about it, wouldn't you say the inheritance of the earth is worth quite a bit too?

Picture Credit Martian haemoglobin x in paris
1. Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament. Pg. 1209-1210. 
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

6 comments:

  1. GLAD I FOUND YOUR BLOG!

    Keep up the great work!!

    Steve
    Common Cents
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really appreciate this post and am linking to it on my Facebook! I blog at everlypleasant.blogspot.com and will be skimming the rest of your posts soon.

    Thanks-a-million,
    Everly

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  3. (“Do you think we should we hire a maid to fill in for the day since we couldn’t possibly do chores that weren’t assigned to us?”)

    Wow. That's exactly the way it happens in our house!

    Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Steve--thanks so much! It's great to have you reading! I'll have to jog on over to your blog soon!
    Everly--Welcome to One Bright Corner--I want to check out your blog soon! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for linking to it!(-; God bless!

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  5. Penn--That's too funny--there is nothing new under the sun, right?! Thanks so much for reading--it was great to read your comment!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, I can�t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please :)

    ReplyDelete

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