Blessed: a study of the beatitudes: Blessed are the meek
Meekness is a difficult concept to define in our culture. It takes humility, but it’s more than being humble. It’s not weakness or passivity. The clearest picture of meekness is displayed when Jesus allowed himself to die for you and me. As part of God’s family, we are called to show that same meekness to others. In the end, meekness reminds us that our lives aren’t about us but point to the bigger picture of God’s love for all people. As we live out God’s values as members of His family, may we show others the power of meekness, so that they may see the love of God.
Something to talk about:
- Gentleness defuses conflict: Here’s a common scenario: someone raises their voice against you, so you raise your voice in response. Then they raise their voice higher, then you raise your voice higher. And the situation keeps escalating. Here’s a tip: When other people raise their voice, lower yours—in your marriage, in your parenting, in your friendships, and at work. That’s called strength under control. The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV). Gentleness defuses conflict. It deescalates anger.
- Gentleness disarms critics: Gentleness is an important quality for you to practice. It diffuses conflict. It disarms critics. It’s persuasive. It’s attractive. It communicates love. Most importantly, gentleness makes you more like Jesus. Matthew 11:28-29 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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” (NIV).
- Gentleness is persuasive: This is extremely important if you happen to make a career in sales. Why? Because we no longer respond to a person yelling at us that they have this amazing deal that we can’t live without. Proverbs 25:15 says, “Gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses” (MSG). Do you want to convince your girlfriend or boyfriend or your spouse to do something? Don’t go with the hard sell. Screaming never works for parents. Gentleness is persuasive. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:21, “A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is” (TEV). This is the mark of maturity. Wise, mature people are pleasant. Fools and idiots are rude. You’re never persuasive when you’re abrasive.
- Gentleness is attractive: You want to be like God. You want to be like Christ. That’s godliness. You’re loving, you’re unselfish. Another mark of a Jesus follower is endurance. You don’t give up. You don’t quit. You have endurance, you have diligence, you have determination. One of the marks of the man of God is gentleness. That is strength under control. That is attractive. Gentleness is attractive not just on a man. But gentleness is attractive in women too. 1 Peter 3:4 says this talking to women: “You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” Gentleness is attractive.
- Gentleness communicates love: Gentleness diffuses conflict. It disarms critics. It’s persuasive. It’s attractive. And gentleness communicates love. The quickest way to improve your marriage is to start talking to your wife more gently. It’ll do wonders if you’ll begin to talk to your wife in a more gentle way. Colossians 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” The more we begin to love, the more we begin to change from within. All of a sudden, we don’t find it as hard to love others anymore, and we get a better picture of what it means to love God—and how deeply He loves us. When we truly, actively begin loving others, we also learn how to love God better.
- Gentleness earns respect: Mother Teresa was this little, I mean diminutive, barely four and a half feet maybe five feet tall at the most. I don’t think she was even that tall. Quite frail, quite small, diminutive, little Romanian nun. But she could walk into the United States Congress and put the fear of God in every power broker in that room. Why? Because gentleness earns respect. One of the greatest leaders in the Bible was of course Moses. Moses liberated the Israelites from four hundred years of slavery. He took on the most powerful man in the world at that time –Pharaoh – let my people go. He had nothing but God on his side and that was enough. He was fearless and he was unafraid to go speak truth to power. Here’s what the Bible says about Moses, the greatest leader in the Bible, Numbers 12:3, “(Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.)”
- Gentleness witnesses to the unbeliever: When people look at you and nonbelievers are watching you all the time, they’re watching to see if are any different under pressure. When you respond to pressure with gentleness that is an incredible testimony to the world. People aren’t going to trust Jesus until first they trust you. People don’t ask if the Bible is credible. They want to know if you are credible. Do you live with integrity? Are you gentle? Are you loving? Are you compassionate? If people like what they see they will listen to what you say. But first, they’ve got to like what they see. Gentleness is a witness to unbelievers. We are to be gentle and show courtesy to everyone.
- Gentleness makes me like Jesus: Matthew 11:28-29 says if you want to be like Jesus, if you want to be a godly woman, a godly man, you’re going to have to learn gentleness. We all want to be at peace. We want to be like Jesus. We don’t want to be stressed out all the time. You can’t fake gentleness, or manipulate or manufacture gentleness. God has to produce it inside you. “The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness!” It is God’s Spirit producing it in you.
- When you think about meekness, what synonyms come to mind?
- Before listening to this week’s sermon, what was your impression of the word “meek”? Did you view it as a desirable attribute? Why or why not?
- Why might culture push back against the notion of meekness, particularly for men? How does the Bible reconcile meekness and masculinity?
- How would you like to grow in meekness, personally? Is there a specific area of your life where meekness is especially lacking?
- When we are attacked or criticized, responding with gentleness will disarm our critics. How does this exemplify the definition of gentleness–strength under control?
- Give an example of a time when you were not gentle in speaking to your boss or a person who had authority over you. What did you learn through that experience?
- In your own words, describe what it means to “inherit the earth”? Why is this a reward worth pursuing?
- Everyone who has humility has meekness and every person with meekness is likely also humble. Agree or disagree and why?
- Jesus says the meek will inherit the earth. What does He mean and how does that apply to us today?
- What part of the message resonated with you? What would you do different this week as a result of this week’s sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
To many, “meekness” suggests the idea of passivity, someone who is easily taken advantage of, spineless and wimpy. Meekness is a difficult concept to define but displayed perfectly through Jesus. When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, one of His disciples took a sword and cut off the ear of one of the arresting soldiers in the heat of the moment. In an act of mercy, and meekness, Jesus healed the soldier, then reprimanded His disciple. Jesus knew that it wasn’t time to fight back or insist on His own way. He simply humbled Himself and submitted to the authorities, willingly giving Himself up as a sacrifice on the cross. Jesus could have resisted. He had the power to call the angels for a dramatic rescue. He didn’t submit because He was weak. On the contrary, He was intentionally meek. Meekness is really humble strength under control.