As we continue looking at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, our focus shifts from our personal relationship with God to how this relationship manifests itself with others. Matthew 5:5 reads, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth".
Unlike the first two Beatitudes that deal with a person's recognition of their need for a Savior, this third Beatitude has to do with other people. While it is still true that being meek has a relationship to God, a person's meekness is especially toward his fellowmen. You are not simply meek within yourself; your meekness is manifest in how you deal with others. You would never speak of a hermit, who never interacted with others, as being meek; the only way in which you could prove whether he is truly meek would be to put him with those who would test his character.
As we consider this hermit and how he might react to being suddenly thrust into society, what are some ways that his meek spirit might manifest itself?
1. He is humble. He does not seek out positions of leadership, nor does he see himself as superior to others. He is not easily angered or frustrated by others, as he only seeks to serve and display grace and mercy. I Timothy 1:15-16 is a great example of humility.
2. He is gentle. Notice I didn't say, "He is weak". Having a gentle spirit does not mean you are weak and have no back-bone. Being gentle in spirit means you are quick to listen and slow to speak. You are seen as a person that someone who is hurting can talk with and not feel judged or condemned. Jesus modeled this daily as he served the outcasts and sinners.
3. He is patient and forgiving of others who have wronged him. In addition to being humble and gentle, the meek are patient in dealing with others. Even though they may get angry towards someone for a moment, they quickly forgive and move on, choosing not to dwell on the sins of others.
4. He is content. He is satisfied with what God provides for him. However, he is not lazy, he is passionate about using his God-given talents to find for himself a position in which he can do more good, but he is not unrestful, anxious, or grasping. His is contented and thankful.
Put these four qualities--humble, gentle, patient and forgiving, content--together with being submissive and flexible before God and you have someone who is meek. The very opposite of someone who is proud, harsh, angry and revengeful.
While we are all good-tempered while we have our own way, true meekness, which is a work of grace, will stand the test of pride, greed, persecution, division, cruelty and being wronged. Think of what Christ endured on his way to the cross....a perfect portrait of meekness.
See you Sunday.