Blessed Are the Meek.
First of all, let me throw in a little disclaimer here. This post isn’t really all that much about religion, but I do throw in some Bible teaching and no matter what your personal feelings about religion, you can’t learn much about the Philippines without recognizing the fact that it is one of the most religious countries on earth.
I am a private individual and I pretty much keep my own religious views private … but I also have the freedom of the press and if I want to speak of things with a religious tone, I will.
You folks who feel that people who mention God or Jesus Christ in public are doing something forbidden, can go ahead and start preparing your “He spoke about God” case against me … or just click on to read something else. Fair warning.
The Bible is Important in the Philippines
Some time back I think I lost a Filipino reader and a budding friend, because he wrote me and told me how wonderful it was that Filipinos are “meek”, and he didn’t understand why I didn’t seem to see that as a great strength of the Philippine nation and people.
I responded to him that perhaps he and I weren’t seeing things exactly the same when it came to the true definition of “meek” … and the conversation died right there, aborning.
Typical Filipino “Meekeness” Is NOT a Virtue
Even those of you who haven’t cracked a bible in 20 years are probably quite familiar with the gospel of Saint Matthew, specifically chapter 5, verse 5, where Matthew quotes Jesus as saying:
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”
This well-known statement of our Lord is taken from the Sermon on the Mount; from the part some call “the beatitudes”.
The word “meek” means to be gentle, humble or considerate. It is the opposite of arrogance and violence.
Those who are willing to share and sacrifice in behalf of others are meek. Those who seek for domination and will use any means to trample and crush others are the opposite of what the Lord refers to here.
But here is the part where my friend and I differ, and I don’t doubt I differ with a lot of other Filipinos on a daily basis.
Meekness Does Not Mean Weakness
Meekness does not mean weakness! It does not mean one must cower or retreat from his principles. It does not involve the surrender of one’s rights.
Meek men and women of the Bible showed firm resolve, courage, conviction and strength.
So must we, Filipino of Foreigner, as we go about this business of living.
Do you know whom the Bible considers “meek”? After all, if Christianity is important to you, surely God’s own word should be able to provide us valuable guidance, right?
Well, unless my concordance is severely in error there are only two people the Bible refers to specifically as “meek” Moses and Jesus himself.
That’s right, friends. One of the greatest prophets and most audacious leaders of men (who can forget the “Let my people go” speech and the risks he took there), who figures prominently not only the Christian Bible, but the Jewish Torah and the Muslim Koran is described as a “meek” man.
And Jesus himself. Not only the centerpiece of the Christian religion, but whose coming was long predicted and revered in the Torah and confirmed in the Koran, a “meek” man?
You better believe it. Muhammad himself said so in the 19th Surah, verses 30-35, Christ is quoted as saying, “… And HE has made me dutiful towards my mother, and has not made me arrogant and graceless; …”
Tracks pretty darn close with my Christian description of meekness above, doesn’t it?
Meek Does Not Equal Weak
Hardly anyone could construe that meaning of “meekness” with what we know or believe about ‘stand up’ guys like Moses and Jesus … or at least it would be a tremendous stretch in my view.
Do you know where the English word “meek” really came to us from?
Meek Comes From the Greek
The ancient Greek ( a big part of the Bible comes to us from the ancient Greek as well, no coincidence I think) where it referred to a very important trait of a horse. It is still used in “horsey” circles today.
A “meek” horse is not (as you might imagine) a horse that is afraid of his own shadow and tries to hide from every obstacle.
That is a definition of “timid”. A “meek” horse is one who responds well to the control of the bit, thus becoming almost as one with his rider and able to perform as lesser horses and riders only aspire to.
It doesn’t mean timid at all, a timid horse is not only unpleasant to ride, it can be downright dangerous, shying at every shadow.
It also doesn’t mean a stubborn, rebellious horse who likes to get the bit in his teeth and run away with his rider …useless to try to get any work out of and also downright dangerous.
If you want a good horse, you want one who is meek … a willing, considerate ‘team player’.
I was kind of inspired to write this post today by my story of excessive timidity yesterday, “There I was …” In my time here in the Philippines, I have been blessed to meet more than a few “meek” Filipinos. Of those men and women, I fully agree with my reader’s sentiment that their “meekness” is, indeed, a powerful and valuable trait, which serves them and their country well.
But sadly, I have met far, far too many folks who are not “meek” at all, but”timid” instead and handicapped by their own belief that standing up for what is right is not only wrong, but somehow ‘bastos”, a very undesirable trait.
Day after day I meet and observe people here in the Philippines (and people in other countries too) who “are where they are” because they never really tried to make things any better. people so obsessed with the erroneous definition they carry of “meekness’ that life just passes them by.
Meek Does Not Mean You Must Be A Doormat
There will always be adversity in life, and no, there is no magic solution that will cure everyone’s problems in this life.
But before you give up and just accept things as they are because you believe that is what “meek” people do … and you’d rather see your children hungry or uneducated so that things will be better in the “next life”, when the “meek shall inherit the earth”, think about some of the tasked we were challenged with in this life. (The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28)) might be a good place to start.
We were all put here for a purpose, no matter what our nationality or station in life.
We all not only have the right to make the most of our talents, but, indeed, the duty to do so.
It’s our duty to be ‘meek”, but never to be “timid”. If you happen to believe “you are a child of God”, and I know many of us do, then remember some important guidance I was once given along those lines … “Remember who you are, and act accordingly”.
So that’s what I have to say today about Blessed Are the Meek.