In the orchards outside my city the apple trees are bearing their fruit. And in these weeks of harvest, people like you and me go out into the orchards and ravage those trees. We pick them bare. Does the tree give up? Does it shrivel up and die? No, it just begins the process again so that at next year’s harvest it will once again be full of fruit. That’s you and me, Christian, when people hurt us and harm us and take advantage of us. Even then we display the fruit of the spirit. Even then—especially then—we act in meekness.
Much has been written about the biblical concept of “meekness.” Many have pointed out that of all the attributes God expects of us, and of all the attributes so wonderfully displayed in Christ, none is so rare as this. Yet perhaps no attribute is quite so difficult to define. What, then, is meekness?
In some ways meekness is best defined by what it is not. Meekness is the opposite of self-assertion, the opposite of acting as if my will should triumph over God’s or even that my will should necessarily triumph over any man’s. It is the opposite of insisting that this world would be a better place if God and man alike just did things my way. Therefore, it is the opposite of grumbling against God’s providence as it’s expressed through circumstances or even through the hands of men.
When Jesus said “blessed are the meek,” he carefully placed this beatitude after two others—after “blessed are those who are poor in spirit” and “blessed are those who mourn.” God’s blessings are upon those who come to him with empty hands—with an awareness that they are fully dependent upon God’s grace. And God’s blessings are upon those who come to him with broken hearts—with deep sorrow over their sin and sinfulness. People who come to God in this way will naturally relate to him with a quiet spirit—with what we know as meekness. And such quietness before God will express itself in kindness and gentleness toward men.