Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5

It sure is hard to inherit the earth.

First, the Beatitude:
"Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth." (NKJV)
Like the other Beatitudes, this one is split into two parts, a character trait and its spiritual benefit. Let's look at the meek, whom Matthew Henry defines as "those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer."

Yikes. That has not exactly been my style. If you read my first post on this blog, then you may recall that getting into arguments on Facebook was largely what prompted my spiritual 180.

And that was only scratching the surface of my un-meekness. I am not a man who has a history of getting over things. Offenses, often perceived, have had a tendency to gnaw at me, to the detriment of my judgment. I have not been one to turn the other cheek, as I have either responded with anger or departed with resentment and lingering thoughts of what I "should" have done or said.

This is where God's grace comes in. I can't fundamentally change my personality by myself. It has taken mindful contemplative prayer to become aware of the triggers that cause me to react to things in a negative way. I'm already noticing that I am able to resist these impulses and instead observe them.

But you have to be careful to be actually meek and not just masquerading as such. Using a parallel verse from Romans, Barnes' Notes on the Bible suggests that the meek do not seek revenge because God "will vindicate us." I disagree. To me, true meekness is when you don't think about vengeance at all. You cannot love your enemy and take comfort in his impending hellfire at the same time.

Meekness is not the same as ignoring injustice.
Also, meekness is not the same as compromising on fundamental values. Evangelist Arthur Pink uses the example of Moses, who broke the tablets containing the Ten Commandments when he discovered the Hebrews worshiping a golden calf. I also consider the incident of Jesus cleansing the temple of merchants and money-changers (Matthew 21:12-13) as an example of one who is meek laying the smackdown when necessary.

Now, the inheriting the earth part sounds a little confusing, until you look at it from a spiritual standpoint. The "earth," or "land" in other translations, signifies the Kingdom of Heaven itself. You inherit this spiritual land through meekness, because meekness produces the qualities necessary for entry.

Look at it this way. Anger, resentment, violence, jealousy and revenge-seeking are among the many feelings and actions that produce a separation from God, also known as sin. But when you are meek, peace, fellowship, rest, contentment and forgiveness replace the negatives by default, and those qualities bring you to God's presence.

Words of Wisdom

"Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!" - Isaiah 10:1-2 (NKJV)

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