THE CONCEPT OF MEEKNESS
The importance of meekness:
The most beautiful verses on the importance of gentleness or meekness are :
The words of the Lord Christ - glory be to him,
from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will
find rest for your souls" (Matt. 11:29). All perfection
existed in the Lord Christ, yet He concentrated on
gentleness in the first place and revealed that it is a cause
of rest for the soul.
St. Paul the Apostle introduced gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23).
St. James the Apostle said, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom" (James 3:13).
In the Beatitudes, the Lord mentioned it at the beginning,
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth"
In the Psalms meekness is beatified in many
which is: "But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall
delight themselves in the abundance of peace" (Ps.
St. Peter the Apostle, speaking about the adornment of women, said, "the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (1 Pet. 3:4).
Since gentleness or meekness is of such
importance let us
What is meekness and what are the attributes of the
What is gentleness?
A meek or gentle person is calm, good-natured, lenient, and cheerful. He is calm, does not get angry, agitated, or furious, but their voice is gentle and pleasant. He does not get nervous for he is composed.
The Lord Christ in His meekness was described as,
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),
A meek person is calm internally and
dominates his heart, so he does not feel anxious or
disturbed. He is on peaceful terms with all, he attacks no one, hurts no one, is not harsh, and is not revengeful, even when attacked.
The meek person never interferes in the
affairs of others,
nor sets himself a guard over their works. Thus he
condemns no one, and even if he interferes in correcting
someone, he does it calmly as the Apostle said,
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any
trespass, you who
are spiritual restore such one in a spirit of gentleness,
considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”
(Gal. 6:1). He restores such a brother by calm persuasion, in humbleness fearing lest he himself be tempted.
A meek person bears others with long-suffering. He is tolerant; he puts before him the words of the Scriptures, "A soft answer turns away wrath" (Prov. 15:1).
He looks towards God's example in forbearance and long-sufferance towards sinners.
He never grumbles either in his relation
with God or with
people, but on the contrary, he is always cheerful and
The meek person is often shy. He is known for his
bashfulness and even as one of the fathers said, 'He does
not look fully at anyone's face'. He does not examine
one's features nor go deep within them to know their
He does not analyze people and their feelings for his looks are simple. He is shy and always bashful.
The meek are easy to deal with. He is simple; he has no cunning, craftiness or malice. He is plain; does not conceal things and show others, nor complicate matters. He is clear in his dealings; does not beat around the bush nor makes plans. Dealing with him gives comfort because he is simple, clear and pleasant.
He is gentle, sweet and good-natured. He is loved by
all because he is good. Even if he is oppressed by some,
many will defend him and rebuke the person who
oppressed him, saying, 'Have you found no one but this
good person to treat unjustly?' Moreover, the person
who treated him unjustly would come eventually and
apologize to the person he accused and also those who
defended the accused, because he did no harm but
showed love and gentleness to all people. Suffice that the
Lord says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit
the earth" (Matt.5:5). He will inherit the earth and
heaven as well, besides having God's grace with him
A meek person is obliging. He is inclined to comfort
people and not resist them. He does not go on arguing,
discussing, persisting and inquiring but does what is good
and quietly, immediately without delay and without
discussion. He does not hold to his views in every thing
as some may do, but lets it pass as long as the matter is not against the commandment. Therefore he is not biased, for he loves all people.
A meek person maintains his meekness.
He does not lose his meekness when he holds a high position or enjoys some authority. He maintains his meekness whatever high position he attains. His heart is not elevated by the power of authority.
The meek does not lose his meekness while correcting others. If he is in a position that gives him an authority to correct others, he does it without being harsh or severe and without coarse behaviour or voice.
He does not lose his meekness if he defends
what is right.
He defends quietly without hurting the feeling of anyone.
Even when he speaks frankly, his frankness is not hurting;
for he expresses what he wants to say in a gentle way.
At this point we remember the way the Lord Christ
talked to the Samaritan woman. He revealed to her
everything gently without hurting her feelings (John 4).
A truly meek person never loses his meekness under the
pretext of being firm or bold or by misusing power and
A person cannot say that he lost his
meekness because he
was born with a fiery temper. Moses the Black was of this kind, but he acquired meekness through the life of
repentance. He began his life with harshness, but he
trained himself until he became a very kind hearted
Meekness and courage:
Some people misunderstand meekness, imagining
that the meek is a sluggish person with no influence
or effectiveness and that meekness is mere slackening!
Those people may ridicule the meek and treat
disdain. They may mock him because of his tolerance
and patience. They think that because the meek do not
condemn people, he would do nothing if he saw evil
prevailing over good! No. This is not true meekness.
The right concept of meekness recognizes being
connected with manliness, self-respect, courage and
We usually remember that the meek person is actually a good, lenient and indulgent person and ignore that he has also courage, self respect and gallantry!
The profound words said in the Book of Ecclesiastes,
apply to the conduct of the meek in various situations :
"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven... a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Eccl.3:1,7).
Goodness is the general nature of the meek. However, there is time in his life for courage and time for gallantry, but without violence in any case.
The Lord Christ in His meekness and firmness:
The Lord Christ, the great example of whom it was
said, "He will not quarrel or cry out, nor will anyone
hear His voice in the streets," we see Him firm and
strong in cleansing the Temple and driving out those who
bought and sold there, saying to them, "It is written 'My
house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have
made it a den of thieves'" (Matt. 21:12,13).
He was also strong and firm in reprimanding the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23).
He was firm in explaining the Law of the Sabbath and doing good on that day, though He found resistance.
Moses the prophet:
He was known for his amazing gentleness and
humbleness: "Now the man Moses was very humble,
more than all men who were on the face of the earth"
When Moses came down from the mountain with
tablets of the Testimony in his hand and saw the people singing and dancing in worship of a golden calf, he was
not passive under pretext of humbleness and gentleness
but became hot with anger, cast the tablets out of his
hands and broke them. Then he took the calf which they
made, burnt it in the fire and ground it to powder and
scattered it on the water (Ex. 32:19,20). He reprimanded
Aaron the high priest who shook before him.
David the Prophet:
Was bold and brave when he saw Goliath defying the armies of the living God, whereas all the army stood in fear in front of that valiant.
The gentle David was the only one who could say, "who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (1 Sam. 17:26).
He inquired from the people about him and was not
affected when his elder brother scorned him. Then he
said to King Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of
him... " (1 Sam. 17:32), and drew near and fought the
Philistine without fear and said to him, "You come to me
with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I
come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts... This day
the Lord will deliver you into my hand".
This is David, the gentle youth, with the flute and lyre and at the same time the zealous warrior and valiant.
St. Paul the Apostle:
A good natured calm person who when rebuking the Corinthians said to them, "Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you" (2 Cor. 10:1).
And to the Ephesians he said, "remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears" (Acts 20:31).
In spite of this meekness and gentleness, St.
Paul was like
a lion in preaching and evangelizing. When he was
speaking about righteousness, self-control and the
judgment to come, Felix the Governor was afraid and
answered him, "Go away for now; when I have a
convenient time I will call for you" (Acts 24:25).
And when he stood before King Agrippa, the King said to him, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian" (Acts 26:28).
In spite of his meekness, St. Paul also did
not refrain from
rebuking St. Peter the Apostle, and said, "But when I saw
that they were not straight forward about the truth of the
gospel, I said to Peter before them all, 'If you, being a
Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews,
why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?"
Elihu, the son of Barachel :
The fourth friend of Job. Because of his meekness he
kept silent while Job's three other friends were talking
(their speeches taking 28 Chapters of the Book of Job).
Elihu did not open his mouth due to his exceeding
meekness, seeing that the other three were older than
However, he could not keep silent more than
he found that all the others spoke wrongly. The
Scripture says, "Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of
Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused
against Job ... his wrath was aroused because he
justified himself rather than God. Also against his three
friends his wrath was aroused because they had found no
answer, and yet had condemned Job ... and said, 'I am
young in years, and your are very old; therefore I was
afraid, and dared not declare my opinion to you ...”
(Job 32:2-7). Then he proceeded to rebuke them.
Indeed, there is a time for every purpose
There is time for the silence of the meek and a time for
talk, a time for his gentleness and a time for his firmness.
1. If one of your
relatives is about to marry a
particular person without receiving permission or the
blessing from the church would you keep silent under the
pretext of meekness and gentleness, or would you warn your relative concerning the probability of a harmful marriage?
If you keep silent, then this is not meekness, for you
ought to warn your relative against this wrong situation
and explain to him calmly the reasons why. This is not
against meekness as long as you explain the matter
without being insulting or hurting. Just say the words of
St. John the Baptist, "It is not lawful for you to have her"
if you see one of your acquaintances about to
end a marriage, would you keep silent for the sake of
meekness? No. You should say to him this is wrong and God will not bless such a marriage if you end it.
This does not contradict with meekness. You are not asked to become enraged and to shout, but simply just to warn calmly.
loves Truth, and loves to see us defending it
in the right way. He says in the Book of Jeremiah, "Run
to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her" (Jer. 5:1).
Defending truth is a virtue which God requires. If you
walk in it you will walk in righteousness, and this is not
against meekness as long as you follow the right way.
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