Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meekness

Then let me go further: the man who is meek is not even sensitive about himself. He is not always watching himself and his own interests. He is not always on the defensive. We all know about this, do we not? Is it not one of the greatest curses in life as a result of the fall - this sensitivity about self? We spend the whole of our lives watching ourselves.

But when a man becomes meek he has finished with all that; he no longer worries about himself and what other people say. To be truly meek means we no longer protect ourselves, because we see there is nothing worth defending. So we are not on the defensive; all that is gone.

The man who is truly meek never pities himself, he is never sorry for himself. He never talks to himself and says, "You are having a hard time, how unkind these people are not to understand you." He never thinks "How wonderful I really am, if only other people gave me a chance." Self-pity! What hours and years we waste in this!

But the man who has become meek has finished with all that. To be meek, in other words, means that you have finished with yourself altogether, and you come to see you have no rights or deserts at all. You come to realise that nobody can harm you. John Bunyan puts it perfectly. "He that is down need fear no fall."

When a man truly sees himself, he knows nobody can say anything about him that is too bad. You need not worry about what men say or do; you know you deserve it all and more. Once again, therefore, I would define meekness like this. The man who is truly meek is the one who is amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do. That, it seems to me, is its essential quality.

D Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount Vol 1, p57-58
Quoted in The Briefing, July-August 2008

I think Lloyd-Jones is spot on in some ways. He is right in terms of what meekness looks like. But I think his definition fails when it comes to look at Jesus - Jesus surely sees rightly and therefore knows that he does deserve all honour and glory.

And of course I am a sinner and deserve nothing more than God's righteous indignation against me, but if I also recognise that everyone else is a sinner as well, it should surprise me less if I do some things better than some other sinners, just as they do some things better than me.

It seems that the essence of meekness is more than just recognition of our sinfulness - it is also choosing to lay down any claims to status that we might have which are based on ourselves. And the helpful and challenging stuff that DMLJ writes then follow...

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