Is that you there? No, not the boxer. I mean the bag.
It’s not about how you pack your punch, but what happens when you’re struck. Do you absorb the blows? Because the happy, blessed -the meek of the earth- they do.
The meek take their blows-steady, upheld, composed. They don’t jab back. They’re soft when struck. They feel the heat and yield. And these blessed meek-they’re mixed right in among us.
The ones who roll with the punches are a marvel to behold.
The Meek and the Rest
Meekness gives and yields. Lots of times, it covers. When the meek are hit or pressed, they don’t erupt in rage or crack. They don’t shatter like porcelain or snap like a brittle branch. They don’t get defensive when they’re criticized or lash out when they’re attacked.
Instead, the meek absorb an uppercut. The impact stops on them. They don’t kick the dog.
There are the meek among us and they are a sight to behold.
While the rest retreat or lash out-passive or aggressive-the meek absorb the blow. It’s the way the blessed take their wounds. The meek can take the heat. The rest recoil or boil, sullen or harsh, defensive or attack right back.
But the meek are soft when they are struck. Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs wrote,
[W]hen you strike something soft it makes no noise, but if you strike a hard thing it makes a noise; so with the hearts of men who are full of themselves and hardened with self-love. If they receive a stroke they make a noise, but a self-denying Christian yields to God’s hand, and makes no noise.
Spirit-filled meek resist the urge to vindicate themselves. They trust God and wait patiently for the Lord. That’s how they absorb blows big and small. How they stay soft in pain and failure, in the midst of harsh words and foiled plans and when good motives are misunderstood.
They do it because they know that there is a future for the man of peace. And that those blessed by the Lord will inherit the land. Are you among these blessed meek?
This kind of meekness might seem fictional, impossible, unreal.
Not Up For The Fight?
Maybe you’re saying to yourself what my friend Marie said to me the other day,
I’m just sick of being dumped-on. Everyone takes their problems out on me. I’m done.
Can you relate? Marie went on to mention some hurtful jabs from her teen-aged daughter and a hook she took from an insensitive friend. Add the couple undercuts she took at work and Marie had had enough.
Now, they’ll hear what’s really up, and not from Mrs. Meek.
How about you? Are you soft when struck? Or do you make a lot of noise? Do you absorb-soak affliction up? Or do you let it leak all over others?
If messy spills seep out of you like a less-than-Brawny towel, and, like me, when things go wrong you make some noise, I ask, Do you want to be more meek? If so, don’t fret, just get back in the ring. There’s always another round. Until the day we die, blows will abound.
Way back, another Puritan named Thomas Watson wondered how to grow more meek. This is his prescription. It comes with no expiration date.
1. Often look upon the meekness of Christ. The scholar that would write well, has his eye often upon the copy.
So we read the Scriptures and see him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so you don’t grow weary and lose heart. Remember the One who did not revile when reviled and when he suffered, he did not threaten, but entrusted himself to him who judges justly. We look a lot on that.
2. Pray earnestly that God will meeken your spirit. God is called ‘the God of all grace’ (1 Peter 5:10). He has all the graces to give. Ask him for this grace of meekness. Mercy comes in at the door of prayer.
I’ll add this third, like the first, on to Watson’s script: Flee to Jesus. When you’re feeling hit-hard and heavy-laden like Marie, take his yoke upon you- get hitched to him. For he is meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-29).
Wearing his yoke means sharing his yoke and that means he’s right beside you. He knows your pain and suffered, too. David knew this well. He knew real spears thrust at him and betrayal and uppercuts from friends. And David sang about his Savior who was right here with him, and who daily bears our burdens.
So if you’re feeling burdened or on the verge of punching back, pray to God to “meeken” you up. Then look upon the Lion who is also the Lamb. Flee to Jesus. Here’s there to be found in his Word.
Then, after that you might see them.
The Meek Among Us
In big and little ways last weekend, I saw meekness on display.
When motives were misjudged and criticism and correction and milkshakes came, meekness was right there to absorb them like a punching bag or Brawny.
- When one spoke hurtful words comparing her kids to another’s, He’s nothing like your Jake, my John, meekness wasn’t perfect. But the mom took a breath, then steered the conversation with grace, instead of getting mad.
- When one was splashed with milkshake thrown from a speeding Lexus, this one (I know her well) remembered the helter-skelter merge just then. So she shrugged and nodded while the wipers whoosh-whooshed the shake away.
- When one whose pure, helpful motives were misunderstood she swallowed hard and held her peace and rolled the injustice and hurt onto her Lord. She didn’t lash out. She didn’t defend. She soaked up the rash, unkind words instead.
- When one who’s fast fading into glory was chided for resisting her meds earlier in the day, Grandma made no defense. She simply said, Yes, I guess you’re right. Then she swallowed those dreaded pills down with all her might.
- When one was criticized for his choice of a wife and his own siblings’ lies landed hard on him, he took the rebuke and left his defense to God. God soon showed up, took the grumblers to task and called him the meekest man on earth.
Yes, they are among us, right there to be seen. Maybe with these glimpses, it’ll be easier for you to pick them out. Because you do know this sort of person.
They’re delightfully refreshing and easy to be around.
Sometimes, it’s true, their rock-solid trust can unnerve us. The way they leave room for God’s wrath and give the last word, sure, that might convict us. It’s sort of otherworldly, really, how they do this.
Yes. It is.
That shouldn’t come as a shock. Because God’s kingdom is, after all, an upside-down kingdom. The first will be last and the servant is greatest and die to yourself and live.
And one day-those blessed, happy meek among us-they will inherit the whole-wide, upside-down world. The wait will be over, the punches done, when at last the final bell is rung.
Then some of us might be among them, delighting in the abundant peace of that land.