What does gentleness look like?
Jesus is a kind, loving King. Jesus is not angry with me. Jesus wants me to be kind and gentle. His goal for me is for me to love.
“Happy (aka Blessed) are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” ~Jesus | Source: Matthew 5:5
What sort of gentleness is it, on account of those who have it, are pronounced happy? It seems important to note that in the manifesto ‘the meek’ come between those who mourn over sin and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The particular form of meekness which the Messiah requires in his disciples will surely have something to do with this sequence. This meekness denotes a humble and gentle attitude to others which is determined by a true estimate of ourselves. It is comparatively easy to be honest with ourselves before God and acknowledge ourselves to be sinners in his sight. Remember the “Jesus Prayer” — “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
The Greek adjective praüs means ‘gentle’, ‘humble’, ‘considerate’, ‘courteous’, and exercising the self-control without which these qualities would be impossible. We rightly recoil from the image of our Lord as ‘gentle Jesus, meek and mild’, because it conjures up a picture of him as weak and effeminate, yet he described himself as ‘gentle (praüs) and lowly in heart’. Paul referred to his ‘meekness and gentleness’. The NEB is quite correct to refer in this part of the Jesus Manifest (Matthew 5-7) to ‘those of a gentle spirit’. Jesus is not Mr. Rogers with a beard.
How do I know I am not meek? I myself am quite happy to recite the Jesus Prayer and call myself a ‘miserable sinner’. It causes me no great problem. I can take it in my stride. But let somebody else come up to me after church and call me a miserable sinner, and I want to punch him on the nose! In other words, I am not prepared to allow other people to think or speak of me what I have just acknowledged before God that I am. There is a basic hypocrisy here; there always is when meekness is absent.
The person who is truly meek is the one who is truly amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.’ This makes him gentle, humble, sensitive, patient in all his dealings with others. I can do this because I know God is good and in a good mood.
Consider Jesus! “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
These ‘meek’ people, Jesus added, ‘shall inherit the earth’. One would have expected the opposite. One would think that ‘meek’ people get nowhere because everybody ignores them or else rides roughshod over them and tramples them underfoot. It is the tough, the overbearing who succeed in the struggle for existence; weaklings go to the wall. Even the children of Israel had to fight for their inheritance, although the Lord their God gave them the promised land. But the condition on which we enter our spiritual inheritance in the Messiah is not might but meekness, for, as we have already seen, everything is ours if we are the Messiah’s.
Such was the confidence of holy and humble people of God in Old Testament days when the wicked seemed to triumph. It was never expressed more aptly by King David in Psalm 37, which Jesus seems to have been quoting in the beatitudes: ‘Fret not yourself because of the wicked … The meek shall possess the land … Those blessed by the Lord shall possess the land … Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to possess the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked.’ The same principle operates today.
What does the Apostle Paul have to say? Actually, quite a lot.
- Ephesians 4:2 — With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.
- Galatians 5:23 — Gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- Philippians 2:3 — Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
- Philippians 4:5 — Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
- Colossians 3:12 — So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
- Titus 3:2 — To malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
- 1 Peter 3:8 — To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.
- 1 Timothy 6:11 —But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
The godless (enemies of God) may boast and throw their weight about, yet real possession eludes their grasp. The meek, on the other hand, although we may be deprived and disenfranchised by men, yet because we know what it is to live and reign with the Messiah, can enjoy and even ‘possess’ the earth, which belongs to Jesus.
Then on the day of ‘the regeneration’ there will be ‘new heavens and a new earth’ for us to inherit. Thus the way of Jesus is different from the way of the world, and every follower of Jesus, even if he is like Paul in ‘having nothing’ can yet describe himself as ‘possessing everything’. As Rudolf Stier put it, ‘Self-renunciation is the way to world-dominion.’
Susan Pons Book – “And There Was Evening and There Was Morning…”
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Susan Pons grew up in Valdese, North Carolina. Prior to her marriage, she performed professionally on stage and dinner theaters. The mother of four and grandmother of six, she and her husband, Larry, direct Christian Training Center, International, a ministry dedicated to the restoration of families. She has loved her life.
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