BLESSED ARE "THE MEEK"?
“Blessed are the meek (οἱ πραεῖς, кроткие), for they will inherit the earth.” (Mt 5: 5)
"Meekness," a term we don't use all that much nowadays, is not exactly the same thing as humility, although the two do overlap. While humility is a state of being, like in a grace-filled fog, “meekness,” which we can demonstrate when we have humility as a foundation, is a way of responding. – That is, of responding to adversity or trouble or hostility. “Meekness” absorbs and/or softens the incoming hostility, with a kind or gracious word, or with benevolent silence, or even with feigned ignorance of what the “other” side really means.
The opposite of “meekness,” I think, is self-righteous victimhood. It’s not always “wrong,” victimhood, because sometimes we are, indeed, victims. Sometimes we are “right” in perceiving ourselves as victims. But “being right” is not the same thing as “right being.”
Here’s what I find helpful, to maintain “right being,” when we are victims: We are most often victims of someone else’s, also tragic, victimhood. So, when people, institutions, or people-in-institutions wrong me in some way, or perhaps treat me uncharitably in some way, I find that I can maintain peace, and escape harboring self-poisoning and self-crippling resentments, by remembering the victimhood of the “others,” to their own particular set of human limitations. Because we are, all of us, only human. The simple fact is, I am not the only sick and sinful person in my world. With this perspective, I can move on, and maintain my spiritual health, as well as the well-being of the “earth” or world I inhabit, and toil over, in my personal and professional interests, work, and relationships.
So today let me choose “meekness,” and respond to adversity, if it comes my way, with a “blessed” and honest perspective of our common human state. “Blessed are the meek,” my Lord assures me today, “for they will inherit the earth.” Thank You, Lord, for that life-giving and life-affirming insight.