Blessed Are the Meek

Blessed Are the Meek

pope shenouda iii

A meek person is kind, calm, peaceful, and gentle-voiced, neither argues nor quarrels, does not break up with anyone, nor behaves rudely.

In both the New and Old Testaments, it is said of Christ the Lord “ He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench” (Matt 12: 19-20) (Isia 42: 2-3). He does not deprive anyone of hope. He does not quench smoking flax; perhaps a wind blows two years later and it may be kindled!

When the Lord met Elijah the prophet fleeing from Queen Jezebel, His voice was still and small, “A great and strong wind tore into mountains, and broke the rocks in pieces, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice” (1Kgs 19: 11-12). It was the Lord’s voice speaking. Such is God in His meekness, the still small voice.

The meek is usually calm, does not raise his voice beyond limit nor more than the situation calls for, unlike the violent who clamours loudly and sometimes terrifyingly.

The voice of the meek is gentle and his looks are mild. 
A meek person does not look anyone full in the face nor does he gaze.
He is always on good terms with others. He does not explore peoples’ feelings nor does he pry into their secrets, for this corrupts relationships.
A person who lacks meekness might look others fully in the eyes to perceive their truth or credibility, always suspecting people of hypocrisy or design.
The meek, on the other hand, is always at peace with others, not bothering to scrutinise their features or analyse their behaviour, and he judges no one.

When the meek sits at table with people, he does not observe what or how they eat, how much they like it, or whether they eat quickly, with lust or greed.

Since the meek is calm and does not scrutinise or analyse others’ conduct, he does not fall into the trap of judging others. Rather, he reminds himself: “What have I to do with that?”

Judging others is actually a result of examining and observing them. But the meek would say: “I have nothing to do with them or with their behaviour. I should keep to myself. Christ the Lord once said, “Who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12: 14). What do I have to say about myself? Why should I interfere in what is not mine?” He thus retains his inner peace.

The meek is always cheerful and smiling.
He is never angry, gloomy, or annoyed, and never frowns. He has a sweet temperament and a delightful smile. His calmness does not allow for rebuke or blame, or for arguments or rudeness. His words are always soft and gentle.

The laws of the Church and the teachings of the fathers call upon the clergy to be cheerful, patient, tolerant, and unquarrelsome (1Tim 3: 3). The biographies of the fathers tell us of many examples of gentle, loving, peaceful faces. Peaceful clergymen can bestow peace upon others, whereas a gloomy face makes others wary of religion.

The meek enjoys inner peace, and is never confused or troubled because of external factors.
The sea might run high, the waves may rise, and the ship may shake right and left, but the fixed rock never stirs and the stones in the sea never shake despite the violent waves.

The meek is like the rock; he is never shaken, whatever the circumstances. He puts the matter, quietly, in God’s hands, and is never disturbed. With David the prophet, he says “Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident” (Ps 27: 3). And Mar Isaac says: “It is easy for you to move a mountain from its place, but it is not easy to move the meek from his calmness.”

The meek never grumbles in displeasure nor complains of the way he is treated by others.
When wronged, he usually finds excuses for others to justify their behaviour. He does not think evil of anyone or speak of the evil rendered him. He does not feel sad in his heart, and any anger or sorrow he may at times feel, quickly vanishes, never turning into hatred.

If someone rises against him, accusing or insulting him, he never avenges himself, behaves rudely, or resists evil (Matt 5: 39). Rather, he keeps silent, and may even smile at the person who insulted him, so that he feels ashamed of what he did! The meek is sometimes like a calm smiling child.

The meek is far from anger, patient, and lenient.
He does not get angry, neither quickly nor slowly. He knows no excitement, nor is he ever seen agitated or nervous. His face is always peaceful. He usually makes no one angry, but if that happens at any time, his soft answer turns away wrath (Prov 15: 1). He is patient and longsuffering.

Being in the image of God (Gen 1: 26-27), the meek, like Him, is longsuffering and bears with those who sin against him. He thus lives in peace.

The meek is distinguished by being slow in wrath.
As St James the Apostle said, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God”  (James 1: 19). And our meek God is described as, “Slow to anger” (John 4: 2), “ Gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy” (Ps 103: 8).

Nothing can make the meek angry. 
When the meek does get angry, it would certainly be because of a very serious matter. It is often for the sake of the Lord, not for himself, nor for his dignity or rights, as others do.

And when angry, a meek person does not lose his temper. He expresses anger by disagreement or disapproval, is always quiet, and when excited, does not become furious. He does not hate; he soon restores his peace and forgives.

It is said of our meek God, “He will not always strive with us, nor will he keep his anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities…For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Ps 103: 9-14).

The meek is peaceful, and avenges not himself.
He resists not evil (Matt 5: 39). He suffers evil long without defending himself. It is others who often defend him and rebuke his wrongdoers, saying, “Have you found none but this good person to attack?”

The meek does no one any harm, even though he withstands harm from others. Consider the beautiful words on Moses the prophet, “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men on the face of the earth ” (Num 12: 13). When his sister Miriam spoke against him and God struck her with leprosy, Moses interceded on her behalf, though he had been hurt by her, crying out to the Lord, “Please heal her, O God I pray” (Num 12: 13)! 

Another beautiful example is that of King Solomon, meek and patient. “God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore” (1Kings 4: 29).

The meek is good-natured and easy tempered.
In any discussion, he avoids violence and complexity. He gives his opinion simply, defends it calmly and gently, even if warning someone against his fault! He has the ‘meekness of wisdom’ described by St James the Apostle (Jas 3: 13).

He prevails without cunning, wile, or malice.
He shows nothing but what is within himself. He is very wise, simply but not naively. He is direct, does not complicate matters, nor does he plot against anyone.

He is frank and soothing, can be trusted and confided in.
He is gentle and never hurts anyone’s feelings, even when wronged. He is good-natured, mild tempered, and treats everyone well.
He is thus well loved.