The Bible extols meekness but it's important not to confuse being a 'softy' with being weak


Meekness. What do most normally associate this trait with? We think about meekness and the quickest things to pop up into our heads are the words timid, shy, quiet, push-over. The first word that honestly comes into mind for me is the word "soft." Should Christians be soft and what does that "softness" look like?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Meekness apparently is something that Jesus wants us to have. Not only that, it's actually something that inevitably and naturally comes upon you when you receive His Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:23 tells us that with the fruit of the Spirit comes gentleness.

Meekness in the context of Hebrew culture was different in many ways to the way we define it now. Meekness was never a sign of weakness. It was in fact a sign of strength. A meek person was someone who would not easily be taunted into an argument, who would not quickly question and defy given authority, and one who would undoubtedly act with grace under highest pressures. Nowadays, we think of a meek person and we think they can be "too soft" for this rough world. But is it really?

A week ago, I was lining up at a fast food outlet to catch dinner. I wanted a small Chicken Nugget meal, but the waitress punched in the big bucket version of it. I politely told her I wanted the smaller size and she raised her eyebrow. I just stood there unmoved and told her again I wanted the order changed. She complied but not without giving me some bad attitude.

Was I being soft? If you consider being soft as not picking a fight then yes it was. Did I do the wrong thing? No I did not. I do however admit that in the back of my mind I wanted that lady to lose her job. But I had felt the tug of the Holy Spirit urging me to remain meek and gentle.

Here's a profound realisation out of that experience: It's not easy to be meek. In fact, it's easier to lose your temper and to get violent than to remain meek. That's power and that's the kind of power that comes with the Holy Spirit.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Christians should be pushovers. The Bible does tell us to sometimes "take things by force," but even in such situations, there is a peace and calm that is instilled by God's presence that keeps us composed during the most trying of storms we will face. Grace under pressure. That's what the Holy Spirit brings to the plate.

Being meek does not mean being weak. It means being strong on the inside so that we can live in the grace and power of God on a daily basis.