"Meekness is the virtue of gentleness with others, especially with those who arouse me to anger. Meekness is not weakness, but strength—the strength of virtue."—My Daily Bread
Original piece by Ludovic François on Unsplash.
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The Definition of Meekness
The definition of meekness from a Christian perspective was always something I struggled to understand until I read this passage from Tan Books’ My Daily Bread. This confusion is no doubt because of the dictionary’s definition of it, which gives it a tinge of negativity and weakness:
meek | mēk | adjective
quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive: I used to call her Miss Mouse because she was so meek and mild | the meek compliance of our politicians.
—New Oxford American Dictionary
This Christian definition of meekness in this wallpaper is one of quiet, yet potent, strength. Meekness itself mirrors Christ’s promised reward for those who live it out:
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”—Matthew 5:5 (RSV2CE)
The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament elaborates on the definition of meekness:
“Those who appear powerless and insignificant in the eyes of the world [are meek]. Far from being weak, however, the meek possess an inner strength to restrain anger and discouragement in the midst of adversity. Meekness is exemplified in the life of Moses (Num 12:3) and especially Jesus (11:29; 21:5). In the end, the meek will inherit the earth (or “the land” as in Ps 37:11). This refers either to heaven itself, envisioned as a new Promised Land (Heb 11:16), or to the new creation that is to come (Rom 8:21; Rev 21:1).”—The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament
It is by meekness, the virtue of gentleness, that we tame and restrain our anger:
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man quietly holds it back.—Proverbs 29:11 (RSVCE)
Be not quick to anger, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.—Ecclesiastes 7:9 (RSVCE)
When sharing or defending the Word with others, it can stir up frustration and anger in us. Even if our anger is righteous, however, retaliating through shouting and force is like trying to storm through the heavily-guarded front door of the castle of someone’s heart. Meekness is the surreptitious side door, a gentle approach that is equal parts surprising and disarming… disarming without the need for force.