Ever meet someone who wanted to grow up “meek?”
You know, as in “the ‘meek‘ shall inherit the Earth?”
“Eat your Wheaties, and you too can become as meek as Babe Ruth,” is a jingle I bet you never heard out of Madison Avenue. Or how about “The Army builds meek men one body at a time?”
Being meek is not something you train for, or something Western Civilization puts a lot of premium upon. Meek is almost synonymous with “weak,” a word no red-blooded American (Canadian, Mexican or South American) would ever want to be called. Or admire. Can’t see anyone in the entire Western Hemisphere encouraging people to be meek.
So, who interpreted the words of the Gospel to create such a non-starter for a group history later called Christians?
Who would want meekness? Who would want be as docile as a lamb? And, more importantly, who’d want someone else to adopt such behavior? And, maybe even offer an incentive for you to live life that way. “Become meek, and you can own “land” as your just reward.”
“Be meek, and you too shall ‘inherit the Earth’.” Did someone from the early Church suggest it? Could a group of all-white-males sitting around a lunch table contemplating the future of a new religion have “created” the term?
Perhaps, to encourage the mostly unlettered believers to “follow the line;” not question Authority? Be meek. Wish I knew of other interpretations. “Gentle” is an attribute I could accept. Not only from a spiritual perspective, but a secular one. As a young man learning the ways of the world. To become a true “gentle” man. Like something out of a Charles Dickens ‘ novel. A gentleman always displays compassion. A gentleman never raises his voice unnecessarily. A gentleman would give up his fortune rather than go back on his word. A true gentleman would give up his own life so that another might live.
What of the Eastern thought on this concept of meekness? Would Buddha have preached enlightenment using the word meek? When I think of a monk, I envision someone quiet, peaceful, wanting or needed little to sustain him or her self. But meek? To “be meek” is, in some ways, to be subservient. To “give in,” and not rock the boat; to avoid most of life for fear of disrupting one’s meekness. When I meditate, I don’t become meek. I ease into a love and a compassion that urges me to engage with the world, to share my concern with others, to help another less fortunate than myself. To be active in bringing all beings toward happiness and away from suffering. One meek in spirit can hardly help another along their journey. Gentle in manner, speech and action, yes. But not meek.
And I applaud my friend, Katharine, — sanctuarywithoutwalls — for rescuing me from any further despair. She tells me there is a source that deleted the word “meek” from its interpretation. In the New American Standard Bible, it is the “Gentle” that are “Blessed.” It is the “Gentle” that “inherit the Earth.” see Matthew 5-5. Now I can dig it. The Beatitude, that is, not the Earth. Give me the Blessed, too. I’ll be gentle.