I can only say that I have only heard one sermon on the idea that we are to be meek as believers in Christ, and then I disagreed completely with what the pastor said about meekness. His claim was that biblical meekness was like a thoroughbred race horse with a bridle. That pastor was trying to appeal to the mixed-up masculine crowd of our day. As a member of that crowd, I have to confess that what we were taught concerning masculinity, in the correct sense, has been taken from us by the feminist movement of our day. But I’m not advocating we pump out our chests and drive the feminist out of the church. It would be better to look at what meekness is, and strive for what our Lord calls us to be than to look back to John Wayne for some level of guidance.
Wilhelmus à Brakel puts meekness this way:
Meekness is the believer’s even-tempered disposition of heart which issues forth from union with God in Christ, consisting in self-denial and love for his neighbor. This results in having fellowship with his neighbor in an agreeable, congenial, and loving manner; in relinquishing his rights; in enduring the violation of his rights without becoming angry, being forgiving, and in rewarding it with good.
Let’s be honest, this definition smacks directly in the face of American individualism. After all, what did à Brakel say, but that we are to give up our rights, and endure when someone tramples on our rights? This is true biblical meekness.
Granted, à Brakel is writing from a position of knowing God’s sovereignty in all its glory. He knows that if our neighbor does something to us, that God ordained it, decreed it, allowed it, and refused to stop it for His own glory and our sanctification. He knows that our LORD and savior is the one who ultimately was unjustly abused and that if we are going to be more like Him, then we will see this type of abuse. We should know that if our Master suffered, then we too will suffer. If Christ had to carry His cross, then should we not carry one as well? If Christ was the ultimate model and example of meekness, then we too should strive to be like Christ in His meekness.
These are easy things to write and to acknowledge. The hard part is living a life filled with meekness as our LORD did.
So when we have been falsely accused, our response should be one of meekness, not vengeance. But this is so hard. A few days ago I wrote about the simplicity of soccer. It’s an easy game to understand. What is extremely difficult is playing the game with success. The same is true when we are called to live out meekness in our lives. This is quite contrary to the flesh. We want vengeance. We want to take those who have sought to ruin our reputations and bring all manner of harm to them. But that is just the flesh. We should ignore the flesh and listen to our Savior’s word, because by seeking vengeance, we would actually be undercutting what the LORD has commanded (Romans 12:9), and short-changing ourselves of the opportunity to respond as our LORD did when He was falsely accused.
As people of the living and true God, we must relinquish the desire for vengeance and being right. I’m not saying we lay down. But when we see that standing for our rights is more damaging to Christ’s cause and our well-being, then we should stand down. This is what Christ did. He let the world have it’s way with Him and He was put to death. We can expect no less in this life.
Ah, but the life to come. Now that is what makes all this worthwhile. How many of our brothers and sisters in the LORD have perished just over the last year for their faith, and heard the words, “well done, good and faithful servant?” I think there were too many to count. Their meekness is now being rewarded in the best way… in an eternal way.
Yes, those enemies of the church, and the ones in the church, seek to harm us. But our LORD seeks to use it for His glory. Let us follow in the footsteps of our LORD and let our King deal with our attackers. It is what is best for us, and brings the most glory to the One who redeemed us from a need for vengeance, to a life of meekness.