Re-thinking Meekness

“Goat Rock Beach” in Sonoma County, CA

Jesus said “the meek shall inherit the earth,” for a long time I misunderstood what it means to be “meek.” 

“Meek” is not a synonym for “harmless,” at least not the biblical definition of meek. A harmless man with hate in his heart is not virtuous for not harming others. It’s only by his lack of means that you are safe in his presence. Being “harmless” or “weak” (in either body or mind) is not a virtue of the kingdom, yet meekness is a prerequisite to inheriting the Kingdom of God.

So what does it mean to be meek? This word “meek” in Greek is praotes, meaning “strength in gentleness.” Scholars further define praotes as displaying the right blend of force and reserve. This brings a whole new meaning to Jesus’ words, placing value on both strength and restraint. Jesus was the embodiment of meekness, showing bold strength against the Pharisees and kind, forgiving gentleness to sinners. 

Blessed is the warrior who overcomes the temptation to use force, but instead chooses the path of peace. Blessed is the ruler who uses his authority to lift up his subordinates, and utilizes his authority to ascribe worth and value to those below him. 

Jesus has called us to be great and mighty, so we can then be truly meek through humility and restraint.

“For the meek shall inherit the earth” Mathew 5:5