Chains of Meekness
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
Recently, when I heard my pastor, David Smith, speak on the topic of meekness, the picture of a chain rattled away in my head. Meekness sounded like a great idea, something to be sought after. But let’s face it… it’s just “not me.” I thought. I mean, honestly, how could someone like me, who comes from such a long chain of women who were forced to fend for themselves be… meek? Do I even want to be meek? How could I ever succeed in life if I sit down and let others walk all over me? I felt like I understood what Pastor Dave was saying. “Meekness isn’t weakness” was his theme. It’s actually putting the needs of others before my own. In the light of his sermon, I started a journey to learning that being meek, actually is the essence of being strong. It’s the toughest kind of strong. Meekness is born out of a strength that doesn’t come naturally, but is absolutely necessary in the Christian life.
I come from a long line of amazing women. Legacy is a big deal to me. Although they did many things right, and had a lot to do with who I am today, meekness wasn’t something I saw modeled for me very often. Through their actions, and examples, they placed too high of a value on independence. Often, in their desire to take care of themselves and their families, they over-corrected and became independent even from God. When I envision the women who came before me, I see a long chain. It’s full of Aunts, Grandmothers, and mothers. It is also made up of cousins and sisters and even a few friends. It is unbroken and strong. We are alike because of connection. The links are made of thick, sometimes rusty, metal. No one can break us. I’ve always been a bit proud that nothing can separate me from the ones who came before me. The links of this chain; the strong women, have been through countless trials. The corroded and worn links have been forged by the strains and weight of such things as divorce, single motherhood, childhood spent in an orphanage, cancer, abandonment by fathers and husbands, loss of babies, the death of children, and burdens of providing for the family.
I find myself near the end of the chain, my daughters linked below me. I’m still shiny silver, but starting to wear around the edges. My life hasn’t been as full of hardship as the women who came before me. But the legacy of meekness wasn’t passed down to me in tangible ways. I have wrongly depended on my human legacy to be my strength instead of allowing Christ’s redemptive power to reign fully. I have allowed the links above me to define how strong, or weak I can be. I’ve been getting it all wrong. The women in my family line, aren’t wrong in their strength. They simply depended on themselves a bit too much instead of Christ. If we are truly meek, we are truly strong. My strength shouldn’t come from within myself or from other people. It should come from the seeds of Christ’s example planted in the soil of my heart. So I tried to remember myself being meek in real-life situations.
I recalled myself as a new mommy. At 3 a.m., my 2 week old son was clutched in my arms. Although I didn’t know it, a double ear infection was tormenting him. We paced the floor and I fought the urge to let him cry it out. The books I’d read told me I was spoiling him, but something in me kept me there. Soothing bounces were the only comfort I could offer his tiny body. In that moment, I felt weak. I thought I was giving in to him somehow. But as I sacrificed comfort, and spent that night losing precious hour after hour of sleep, I was being meek. Allowing Christ to work through me, was making me the best mom I could be. I chose to shut out all the voices and listen only to His. But soon my memories of that night gave way to many more times, when I wasn’t meek at all.
These were the times when I yelled at my children. My desire for perfection gave way to harsh treatment of my own babies. There were situations when I resented my husband, and made sure he knew it. It was in these moments that I clung to my chain. I simply grasped for the first thing I saw and had seen modeled for me. I did the easy thing. Then a current situation came into my mind. I realized that I was clearly being called to meekness.
I was being wrongly accused of certain selfish behavior. All I wanted was to hold on to that rusty chain and do what came naturally. I wanted to use all my training and defend myself. But this idea of meekness was holding me back. I felt strongly that I was to stay silent and let my Savior defend me. It was miserable. Day after day I held my tongue… or my hands from the keyboard in some cases. I had so much to say in my defense. I wanted to scream from the rooftops and plead my case. I felt that if people just knew my side, they’d understand how hurtful and unrelenting the other party was being. Why couldn’t I just say it? I typed out words and erased them many times. I picked up the phone and hung it up a few times too. Why was being meek so difficult?
And then it hit me. Jesus was the picture of meekness on the cross. All the angels poised just beyond a veil of clouds, ready to pounce on his accusers, Jesus held his tongue. He was innocent and He was silent. He allowed himself to be ridiculed and all manner of false accusations to be hurled his way in order to bring His Father glory.
Philippians 2:7 says, “But he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
He wasn’t weak. He was the picture of strength. He was meek. And that’s what I’m going to strive for now.
My new goal is to look up and see that decaying chain broken into pieces. I can still hold on to the precious women I love, and not find value in everything they did. I’m starting to see that my own fear is like a giant wall standing in front of me and meekness. I’m afraid of failing and not being perfect. But Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” That’s me! I’m tired of trying so hard. Things I’ve wrongly thought were strengths need to be washed away in truth. If God is going to really use me, I need to be humble and not proud. I want the links below me to look up and see their legacy is different. Grasping on to nothing more than Christ’s gift of meekness, I need to learn how to harness my desire to control. I want to build others up, and be a lot more selfless.
It’s going to take a lot of doing what doesn’t come naturally, but I no longer want to be defined completely by the women who came before me. My desire is to let Christ give me a meek spirit that doesn’t want to gain dominance over anyone. I need to re-write this story and make it one of a woman who held her tongue even when it didn’t make sense. I want it to be said that I was the, “Strong, silent… (dare I say it), meek type. “
I’m still struggling with my current situation. But I’m holding on to 1 Peter 2:23 “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” How about you? Do you need to stay silent or speak up for what is right? Do you need to practice doing the things that don’t come naturally? Who wants to join me in making some chains of meekness?