“Blessed are the MEEK, for they shall inherit the earth.”

A meek person is one with an inner temperament that is gracious, strong, balanced, and under control. They are not quick to take ‘offense’ at others, being very patient with them—since they realize God has been very patient with them! (“Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” [ Philippians 4:32 ]). They understand that God has forgiven them more than they will ever have to forgive anyone else!

Although the meek are in control of their emotions, meekness does not mean ‘suppression’ of anger. Anger that is governed by reason and is a response to real injustice is not wrong, but virtuous! The deliberate decision to keep anger ‘alive’ with a spirit of unforgiveness, however, is wrong. The meek person can be tender without ‘surrender’—they don’t ‘cave in’ on their convictions.

Meekness is a by-product of humbling one’s self before God. True meekness is strength under control. We can see that in light of the different ways the Greek word “praos” was used. Medicine taken in the proper dosage can be helpful, but an overdose may kill; and a gentle breeze cools and soothes, but a hurricane kills; a domesticated horse is useful but an undomesticated one is destructive.

The thing is, one cannot ‘manufacture’ gentleness—it has to be an ‘inside’ job. God has to produce it in you. (“When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control” [ Galatians 5:22-23 ]).

Biblical meekness is rooted in the deep confidence that God is for you and not against you. Meek people have discovered that God is trustworthy—with their business, their problems, their relationships, their health, their fears, and their frustrations—and they release all these into God’s capable ‘hands’. They admit that they are insufficient to cope with the complexities, pressures, and obstacles of life, and they trust that God is able and willing to sustain them, guide them, and protect them—and wait patiently for Him. They trust His timing, His power, and His grace to work things out in the best way for His glory and for their good.

They have a kind of steady calm that comes from knowing that God is omnipotent, that He has their affairs under his control, and that He is gracious and will work things out for the best—even in the midst of upheaval, opposition, and set backs.

This person is slow to speak, and quick to listen. This person recognizes the limitations of his knowledge, and the fallibility of his thinking, so they are eager to listen and learn anything valuable that they can.

They count the ‘blows’ of a friend as precious—and when they must say a critical word to a person caught in sin or error, they speak from the deep conviction of their own fallibility and susceptibility to sin, and are utterly dependent on the grace of God.

The meek are those who have a spirit of gentleness. They are free from malice and a condescending spirit. They do not exploit or oppress others, nor are they given to vengeance, or vendettas. They are not violent, and do not try to seize power for their own ends. They do ‘champion’ the needs of the weak and the oppressed. They have a tender ‘heart’ and a tough ‘skin’.

They know how to defuses conflict, and de-escalate anger (“Gentle speech can break down rigid defenses” [ Proverbs 25:15 ].). They also know that gentleness can be ‘persuasive’ (“The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive” [ Proverbs 16:21 ]). They also know that gentleness earns them respect, and the right to ‘speak into’ people’s lives. (“A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth” [ Proverbs 11:16 ]).

A meek person doesn’t worry about personal emotional ‘injury’, and they bear no grudges. They are not concerned about defending themselves because they know they doesn’t deserve anything. They don’t run around trying to get their ‘due’. They believe God will ‘handle’ it! (Jesus never defended Himself). When we understand we are nothing more than sinners, we will “give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10). God works only with those who are subject to Him, not with those who do their own thing.

Are you trying to be a ‘meek’ (gentle) person?

“Meekness” Related Bible Verses:

“The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”
[ Exodus 34:5-6 ]

“In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
[ Psalm 37:10-11 ].

But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
[ Psalm 37:11 ].

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
[ Psalm 145:8 

“The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.”
[ Psalm 147:6 

“For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.”
[ Psalm 149:4 

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.”
[ Proverbs 14:29 ].

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”
[ Proverbs 15:18 

With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.”
[ Proverbs 25:15 ].

“The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.”
[ Isaiah 29:19 ].

“And rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
[ Joel 2:13 

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
[ Matthew 6:14-15 ].

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
[ Matthew 11:29 ].

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
[ Matthew 18:1-4 

“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
[ Luke 6:36-38 ].

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
[ Luke 18:10-14 ].

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”
[ Ephesians 4:2 ].

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
[ Philippians 2:3 ].

“To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
[ Titus 3:2 ].

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
[ Hebrews 4:14-16 ].

He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.”
[ Hebrews 5:2 ].

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
[ Hebrews 8:12 ].

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
[ James 1:21 ].

“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
[ James 1:21-25 

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
[ James 4:6-10 

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
[ 1 Peter 3:4 

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
[ 1 Peter 5:5-9 ].

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Gentleness is a humble, non-threatening demeanor that makes others feel safe and cared for. It is an attitude that has concern for others and therefore influences how we approach and talk with others. When we express gentleness we are tender with our words, touch, and treatment of those around us.

Gentleness seems to be very much ‘lost’ in our aggressive, self-centered culture. Because people associate it with weakness, most today do not admire others for being “gentle,” but as we shall see, it is not what they assume. It is a quality of character very noticeable in the ‘greatest’ human being ever to grace this earth—and one that all of us sorely need today.

Webster’s makes it clear why gentleness is associated with weakness. Notice its synonyms listed: tame, timid, mild, bland, unambitious, retiring, weak, docile, acquiescent, repressed, suppressed, spiritless, broken, and wimpish.

Such words give us an impression that gentleness is weak or “wimpy.” This could be something that men may have issue with in regards to their masculine nature. But, we must remember that Jesus was a man’s man. He was gentle, but He also confronted the men of power of His day. Not a single one of these words applies to Jesus or even to Moses, who the Bible claims “was very meek [gentle], above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Charles Swindoll says that “gentleness isn’t weak or soft, but strength under control.”

The Greek word for gentleness comes from two words, “prautes” (pronounced: prah-oo-teys) and “epieikes” (pronounced: e-pē-ā-kā’s). This can also be translated as “consideration,” “humility,” or “meekness.” Prautes means humility, considerateness, meekness, and it describes things or people. It is getting angry at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason. It is a condition of mind and heart which demonstrates gentleness, not in weakness, but in ‘power’. It is a balance born in strength of character. Epieikes is a word used to express a balanced, intelligent, decent outlook on life, a good citizen, an admired person, and a trusted individual.

The Hebrew word translated “meekness” is “anav” or “anaw,” meaning “depressed in mind or circumstances (needy; saintly); humble; lowly; meek; poor.” The translation depends upon the context in which it appears. It also means afflicted, and miserable—commonly with the added notion of a lowly, pious, and modest mind, which prefers to bear injuries rather than return them.

We may still feel that gentleness is a weak character trait, and we do not stand alone in our perception of this word. The ancient Greeks did not rank it as a virtue either, except in a very narrow circumstances. Jesus, however, lifted it from its narrow context and made it refer primarily to our relations with God. Bible scholar William Barclay adds that meekness [gentleness] is “the most untranslatable of words in the New Testament.”

The Greeks also defined gentleness as power under control. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to be gentle in speech at all times, rather than flying off the handle and speaking destructive words. To be gentle and loving often requires great spiritual strength. Jesus is ‘THE’ example of someone who is gentle.

In last month’s post I discussed the “Beatitudes,” and the third one (dealing with inner attitudes, and how a person sees himself before God) is “Blessed are the meek.” [ ]. Meekness (gentleness) is so important that Jesus mentions it in His ‘foundational’ teachings. Obviously, the world’s ideal of the perfect man is very different from His. Today, the ‘world’ would probably word it like this: “Blessed are the strong, who can hold their own.” The world favors more conspicuous and so-called heroic virtues. Those who are strongly—almost fiercely—competitive and aggressive are the ones who receive recognition, admiration, and reward. The thing is, the gentle are among those so favored that they will share in Jesus’ inheritance of the earth!

The fruit of gentleness must be seen in your attitude, in your behavior, and in your conversation—especially when things don’t go the way you want them to. This can only happen if you are letting the Spirit ‘lead’ your life. The fruit of gentleness isn’t something that comes naturally. Gentleness comes from a life committed to living as Jesus would, and being under the constant control of the Spirit of God. This comes from life cultivated by the Word, empowered by the Spirit, and an ever deepening relationship with God the Father. Gentle people have been transformed by the message of God’s grace, and they delight in showing that grace to others.

The gentle person has ceased to think or care about themselves. Their pride and self-will have been ‘expunged’. They do not measure the importance of events by their relation to their personal comfort or what they will gain from them. They see everything from God’s perspective, seeking only to serve His purpose in the situations life imposes.

Gentleness is the fruit of God by His Spirit working in us. Godly sorrow softens our ‘stiff-necked’ rebellion and our hearts so that we are made receptive to the workings of God to produce His image in us. Therefore gentleness, along with the qualities already mentioned, also includes our becoming pliable, malleable, submissive, and teachable. A New Testament term for this condition might be “childlike.”

In short, we have to have a forgiving spirit to be gentle. Without it, we will surely promote divisiveness. This does not in any way mean a lowering of the standards of justice or of right and wrong. Gentleness can be accompanied by a war to the death against evil, but the gentle Christian directs this warfare first against the evil in his own heart. He is a repentant sinner, and his recognition of this state radically alters his relations with his fellow man. A sinner forgiven must have a forgiving attitude.

This attitude of forgiveness is emphasized like this: “Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you” [ Luke 6:37-38 ].

A gentle person will feel the wrong done against him and feel it bitterly. But because he is not thinking of himself, his gentleness does not allow his spirit to give vent to a hateful or vindictive anger that seeks to “get even.” He will instead be full of pity for the damaged character, attitudes and ‘blindness’ of the perpetrator. A gentle person understands this more clearly, thus his judgment is tempered, avoiding reacting more harshly than is necessary. Gentleness is what results when one’s spiritual knowledge, understanding, and passions are in proper balance.

No matter what issue we face in life or how difficult a relationship issue we might have to deal with, we are to respond with gentleness. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” [ Proverbs 15:1 ].

This does not mean the gentle will take everything “lying down.” Moses, as I said earlier, was the ‘gentlest’ man of his time, but against evil he was as stern as steel. How a gentle man reacts depends upon what he discerns God’s will is for him within the circumstance. Because the gentle man sets his mind on God’s purpose and not his own comfort, ambition, or reputation, he will offer implacable resistance to evil in defense of God, yet react with patience, kindness and gentleness when others attack him—all, of course, empowered by the Spirit of God.

Relationships are a blessing, but no matter how cordial, loving and pleasant they can be, there comes a time when we encounter stress and conflict. In such situations we are called to be gentle and we must seek to express love. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” [ Ephesians 4:2 ].

Gentleness enables a person to bear patiently insults and injuries they receive at the hand of others. It makes them ready to accept instruction and to endure provocation without being inflamed by it. They remain ‘cool’ when others become heated. Gentle people seek no private revenge—they leave that to God’s sense of justice, while they seek to remain true in their ‘calling’ and meet God’s standards.

The spirit of gentleness enables its possessor to squeeze great enjoyment from his earthly portion, be it small or great. Delivered from a greedy and grasping disposition, he is satisfied with what he has. Contentment of mind is one of the fruits of gentleness.

This is not a virtue to ignore because ‘carnal’ men consider it weakness. It may appear to them as weakness, but the spiritual reality is that it is great strength, an attribute of Almighty God and a fruit of His Spirit we greatly need.

Gentleness is a virtue God has determined those who will have dominion in His ‘family’ must possess. “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” [ Philippians 4:5 ].

“Gentleness” Related Bible Verses:

You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great.”
[ 2 Samuel 22:36 ].

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.”
[ Psalm 18:35 ].

“A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.”
[ Proverbs 11:16 ]

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
[ Proverbs 15:1 ].

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
[ Proverbs 15:4

“The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive.”
[ Proverbs 16:21 ]

With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.”
[ Proverbs 25:15 ].

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
[ Matthew 11:29 ].

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
[ Galatians 6:1 ].

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”
[ Ephesians 4:2 ].

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
[ Philippians 4:5 ].

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
[ 2 Timothy 2:24-26 ].

“To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
[ Titus 3:2 ].

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
[ James 1:19-20 ].

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
[ James 3:17 ].

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
[ 1 Peter 3:4 ].

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