How many times has a Facebook debate started with a harmless comment about politics and erupted into biting personal attacks? Insults are hurled, people get offended, and it unfortunately results in someone being unfriended on Facebook and sometimes in real life.
With the presidential election a week away, I think Jesus’ words are especially pertinent to the believer right now, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
The biblical definition for meekness is to be “humble and gentle”, something that is too often missing in the world of social media.
SETTING PRIDE ASIDE
A few months ago I had a personal lesson in meekness. During the month of June, our team had committed itself to doing research on racial injustice. I genuinely wanted to find a way to financially support my brothers and sisters in the black community, and that’s when my research revealed troubling information about the Black Lives Matters organization. Some of it was even outlined in the statement of beliefs on their own website. So I published a post on my personal facebook site, looking for other organizations that do work for racial justice as an alternative to BLM. The thread quickly devolved into offshoot comments and unhelpful dialogue, demanding that I defend my position and questioning how I could care about black lives without supporting that particular organization. All the while only three people actually answered my original question.
I felt attacked, defensive, and dug my heels in even deeper, responding to every comment and trying to have the last word.
But why? To stand up for myself? Prove a point? Protect my own pride? Thankfully I didn’t lose any friends, but I didn’t win anyone over either.
Unfortunately, very few minds are changed on social media. We enter the conversation with our minds made up and leave the thread with our original opinions intact.
It’s not that political conversations are bad, but there is a time and place and purpose for arguments.
MEAKNESS ISN’T WEAKNESS
When we have a conversation about a controversial topic we need to check our own motives and realize that sometimes, holding our tongue is the best strategy of all. Unfortunately, in our explosive culture we are taught to think that the person who is quiet and doesn’t speak up, is a weakling. But meekness isn’t weakness. It’s wisdom.
James 3:13 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”
Wisdom holds its tongue with gentleness and respect long enough to hear the other person out. It doesn’t act like a know-it-all. It learns from others. It is slow to speak. Slow to make accusations. And slow to become angry.
That being said, even those who are meek know when it’s time for something to be said.
Jesus himself said he was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29), but he was the same Jesus who turned the tables in the temple when the merchants were dishonoring the name of the Lord. (Matthew 21)
Meekness can be quiet and restrained but it can also be passionate and bold. So how can you actually identify it?
THE MARK OF MEEKNESS
The mark of meekness is always submission to the truth.
Meekness isn’t concerned with defending its own honor but submitting to the truth. Meekness lays down it’s pride to side with what’s right.
Two people can be having a soft-spoken, laid back conversation, each stating their own opinion just to agree to disagree. That’s not meekness. That’s an unwillingness to learn. That’s self-protection and pride, veiled by pleasant niceties. Something we are very good at in the Midwest.
Meanwhile two people can be filled with passion, arguing their points, and learn from one another because they are both committed to discovering and submitting to the truth.
That’s what meekness requires. It demands a posture of humility when we are wrong and even when we know we are right. It doesn’t have to have the final word because it rests in the knowledge that the truth will prevail in the end (Isaiah 40:8). When we submit to Him, we can be confident in that.
Isaiah told the Israelites that “the fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)
Sometimes it’s necessary to speak up and make our voices heard, but before we do, we need to check our pride and make sure we are trusting in the right things. We need to be teachable. We need to let gentleness reign in our hearts and on our lips so we continue to produce good fruit instead of destroying relationships along the way. And even when it appears we have lost, we can still have peace because, in the end, the Truth Himself will win.
Revelations 21:1-6a, “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End….”
His Word will prevail. He will have the final say. Our inheritance is coming. We can hold our tongue. We can be gentle yet confident because Jesus says the meek will inherit the earth. We can be slow to speak and slow to make accusations because time is on the winning side. No more striving. No more self-protecting pride. When we trust what is true, we can rest. Our hope is not in this world. Our hope is not in this nation. Our hope is in the Truth, Jesus Christ. So rest in this: you don’t have to win every battle here and now because the final battle has already been won.
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THE BEATITUDES MELODY
Abigail Houston from Melodically Memorizing wrote and recorded this melody to help us write The Beatitudes across our hearts! We LOVE her ministry and passion for God’s Word! We hope this song blesses you as we memorize this passage throughout the “Blessed are…” Blog Series!
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MATTHEW 5:3-12 [THE BEATITUDES]
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.