Does Meekness equal Weakness?

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) is one of Jesus’ most profound statements from his mountainside preachment that became known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.

Yet it can also be one of the most confusing.  Why?  Because “meekness” is frequently equated with “weakness.”

The popular concept of a meek individual too often is of someone who is sheepish, or perhaps devoid of vitality and courage.  I’ve encountered individuals who have thought their reticence was proof of their living a meek life in obedience to Jesus’ sermon.  And I’ve also had others tell me that they thought that meekness was exemplified by being soft-spoken, or retiring.

And then there were those dear folks who thought that they were being meek by allowing others to walk all over them in a misguided concept of being “loving,” and/or that to do so was even some form of spiritual martyrdom to be desired!

So if meekness is not any of the above, what is it?

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany (page 228):

Who shall inherit the earth? The meek, who sit at the feet of Truth, bathing the human understanding with tears of repentance and washing it clean from the taints of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, envy, — they shall inherit the earth, for “wisdom is justified of her children.”

For me, there’s nothing in that statement that could be misinterpreted as weakness.  Quite to the contrary!  It’s the willingness to let go of all personal will—to endeavor to be obedient to God’s perfect directions for us and actually do what He is asking us to do and be what He wants us to be—that washes those taints from our human concepts.  Taints that would inhibit spiritual growth—and of greater import—that would lessen our ability to love and heal our fellow man.

Eddy exhorts her readers in Science and Health (page 390) to:

Rise in the conscious strength of the spirit of Truth to overthrow the plea of mortal mind, alias matter, arrayed against the supremacy of Spirit. Blot out the images of mortal thought and its beliefs in sickness and sin.

These active statements clearly indicate there is nothing weak, superficially soft, or indicating a faux-humility about how Christians should respond to any form of error—of evil.  It brims with strength—but a strength that is fully derived from God, not human will power.

One final quote from the same book on page 517 sums up the whole issue for me:

Man is not made to till the soil. His birthright is dominion, not subjection. He is lord of the belief in earth and heaven, — himself subordinate alone to his Maker. This is the Science of being. 

Meekly turning to God—in the strength of Spirit—leads to dominion.  No weakness there!

2 thoughts on “Does Meekness equal Weakness?

  1. Thanks, Ken! What a great clarification! For years I didn’t really understand meekness and certainly didn’t understand how strength came from it. Your post is so clear that spiritual strength leads to meekness, which enhances spiritual strength. What a wonderful upward spiral!

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you so much! It’s certainly interesting how meekness and spiritual strength work–contrary to what the “normal” view of it is.


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