Oh no, not 'meek' ...

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

What's your honest reaction to "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth"? Blessed means "happy." I suppose anyone should be happy inheriting the whole earth! But do you really want to be meek? I've thought a lot about that beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount.

A lot of people think meek means weak. How, I thought, can I want to be some kind of wishy-washy wimp? How could that help anyone?

But then someone pointed out to me that a French Bible says it like this: "Blessed are the debonair ...." (Matt. 5:5). Now, I thought, that's something that I can work on being - debonair!

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The way most people think of it, debonair means dressing up in fashionable and fancy clothes. But I was quickly able to see that that's really not it. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with dressing in style, what being debonair means here is being good, happy, cheerful, and calm. It's the attitude of a person who is willing and able to help someone out (or be helped out by someone). It's the attitude of a person who enjoys getting up and working, and is happy to share that enjoyment. Now, that's a different view of "meek."

Remember the rich miser Ebeneezer Scrooge? In the first part of the story "A Christmas Carol," he has an attitude that is basically the opposite of meek. On the other hand, there's his nephew Fred, who is kind of poor, but invites his Uncle Scrooge to a Christmas party. Fred has meekness. You could say he's debonair.

There's something else that's necessary to having the kind of meekness Jesus was talking about in that beatitude. It's having a willingness to trust God and to put God first in your life.

How does that work? Do you have to spend hours each day in prayer, and lots of time in church? Certainly - if that's what comes to you to do! For most people it's usually more like this: Suppose you're beginning a major assignment at school. This task looks absolutely mountainous! It's a really, really big project. Why not pray to hear God for a few moments before you begin?

Nobody has to tell you exactly how to pray. But there are some helpful pointers. Just for example, you could begin by realizing that God is where your strength and intelligence come from.

Further, you could thank God for the tons of strength and intelligence that He has given to you and to all of His creation.

Then, you could want to listen. Listen for God's direction to you about this assignment. Again, nobody can really tell you how long to listen. But don't be surprised if this listening time is closer to a few minutes than to a few days. At any rate, listen until you have the warm glow of inspiration. Or the steady confidence of conviction. Or simply the urgent need to move. Then get on with it!

If you encounter a roadblock along the way, maybe you could bow your head again (meekly?) and thank God for any progress that you've already made. Then listen for more guidance. In meekness, you'll rise to the top of your mountainous task. Even above it.

There are plenty of other things to think about on this subject. Such as, meekness equals strength. Meekness often begins with mouth control. You find meekness when you care about other people. Meekness is possible when we drop our worries at God's feet.

Being meek puts us on the goodness road. (Having an attitude is not part of meekness.) You're on the road to Truth - with a capital T that means God - and traveling with good speed when you're being meek.

This has really helped me: "The spiritual sense of truth must be gained before Truth can be understood. This sense is assimilated only as we are honest, unselfish, loving, and meek" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 272).

Meekness? We've just touched on it here. Happy thinking, and many new insights to you!

You can find other articles like this one in a weekly magazine called the Christian Science Sentinel.

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