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Fifth Week of Lent

Fifth Week of Lent: Reflection on Meekness

Matthew 5:5

“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”

The Greek word used here is translated as meek – a word we perhaps don’t use much anymore but which is a combination of gentle and humble. It is the same word used to describe Jesus in Matthew 11:29 where he describes himself as “meek and lowly of heart”, so we know that this characteristic is not only something good, but something godly. Something which Jesus modelled for us in his life here on earth.

So, what does it mean to be meek? Often, we might see this quality as something negative, leading to someone who is quiet, can’t defend themselves, who almost hides away from people in a shy, cringing way. In a world which values power and strength we might find it hard to value such a quiet virtue. It seems to oppose our ideas of self-confidence and assertiveness, and maybe even our identity or sense of self.

Yet how can this idea be correct if Jesus Himself was meek? If we consider that Jesus was meek, then our understanding of this word needs to be challenged. Of all people Jesus never lost a sense of his identity or self-confidence. He is God!! Yet He also calls us to be meek, gentle and humble, and expects us to do this without losing a sense of who we are or our value. How can we do this? Gentleness is a quality which is not always present in this fast-paced world. It requires thought and understanding, it is not always an instinctive reaction. Humility also requires us to stay openhearted to others, not judging them or thinking of ourselves as better than them but recognising all as people who are loved by God.

So, when we can keep that humility and openness of heart towards others, when we can see the needs of others and treat them with gentleness, then we are somewhere along the path to meekness. And what is the result of this meekness? They are already blessed and will inherit the earth. If we think of how people gain territory in the world, this is most often through fighting and war. States increase and take territory through violence and with a belief in their own importance above others. Yet here we see something completely different. That acquiring the whole earth is something that is given as an inheritance, not taken by force, and which is inherited by means of gentleness and humility. This could hardly be more opposite to the ways of the world.

The world around us teaches us very negative lessons, that might is right, that power is everything, that riches give us everything we can desire. Yet Jesus’s words tell us something different. That God gives. That we receive. That His ways are higher and so beyond our own. It is good to step back and remind ourselves of God’s principles whenever we look at the world around us. To recognise that in meekness we are already blessed. We cannot help but be affected by our environment, but we need to bring our prayers to God for His ways and His attitude as we pass through the storms of life.


Lord, as we live in this world which values force and power and ego and pride, we ask that you guard our hearts. That you help us to live according to your values and your example of meekness, of gentleness and humility. Remind us Lord of how your heart is meek and lowly and by Your grace let us reflect You in our attitudes to all those around us. Amen.