That's meekness—an inner strength that, oddly enough, usually displays itself as gentleness. To be meek doesn't mean we always give in to other people, especially when they ask us to do something we know is wrong. It doesn't mean we wilt under pressure when people mock us for our faith. At times like these, we need strength and courage! But most of the time, we're called to display patience and gentleness, especially when around the weak and vulnerable. Like Steve, the massive weightlifter, who could be as gentle as a lamb with children.
The other odd thing about Jesus' words in Matthew 5:5: He says that the meek will "inherit the earth." That's another way of saying "the kingdom of heaven." That refers to the time when heaven will come to Earth Revelation 21), and when the gentle people—Christians—will enjoy the rule of God. In this life, it seems like it's the aggressive, bold, and brash who get to reap all the benefits (money, sex and power). Jesus says, "Nah. Just wait. You'll see who gets the real rewards." It's another way of saying, the last (the gentle) will be first, and the first (the brash and aggressive) will be last (Matthew 19:30).
It all seems so odd. But with Jesus, it's good to be odd. And meek.
Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today, and author of Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable God.
Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today/Ignite Your Faith magazine.
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