Life of humbleness & meekness (30)
Pope Shenouda III | 1 April 2012
A meek person is full of kindness and compassion even upon the most evil sinners.
If you see a person treating the others with cruelty, know that he is not meek. See how the Meek Lord Christ treated the Samaritan woman; He
A meek person is full of kindness and compassion even upon the most evil sinners.
If you see a person treating the others with cruelty, know that he is not meek. See how the Meek Lord Christ treated the Samaritan woman; He did not hurt her feelings or put her to shame by a word, but rather led her by meekness and gentleness to confess, and found something good to praise her for. He said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly. …." (Jn 4: 17, 18). In this way He could lead her to repentance and to believe that He is Christ and carry the good news to the people of her city (Jn 4: 29).
With the same meekness He treated the sinful woman who was caught in the very act. He did not rebuke her but saved her from those who wanted to stone her. And when they went out, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" And when she said, "No one, Lord," He said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." (Jn 8: 10, 11)
Another type of meekness He revealed after His resurrection. He first rebuked Peter His disciple for denying Him thrice and cursing and swearing and saying, "I do not know the Man!" (Mt 26: 74), then He said to him thrice, "Simon, Son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" and followed these words with other words affirming to him his mission, saying, "Tend My sheep … Feed My sheep." (Jn 21: 15- 17)
In His meekness He met Nicodemus by night (Jn 3: 2), and did not rebuke him for coming by night in fear of the Jews! Yet He attracted him with love, and this made Nicodemus declare this love after the Lord's crucifixion when he took part with Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the holy body for burial (Jn 19: 39).
God in His meekness treats the sinners with longsuffering, waiting for their repentance.
He wants them to repent and not be exposed to His justice and revenge. This is the way of the meek, not taking revenge from those who mistreat them, saying, 'I will not take revenge from anybody lest God takes revenge from me because of my sins.' The meek do not rejoice at the calamity of those who mistreated them, knowing that "He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished." (Prov 17: 5)
The meek take four steps in dealing with the wrongdoers:
The first step is patience towards the wrongdoers without getting angry. The second step is to forgive the wrongdoers without remembering their sins continually or bearing grudge towards them. The third step is taking the initiative of reconciling with the wrongdoers, as the apostle says, "… endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph 4: 3) And above all love for the wrongdoers and prayer for them according to the Lord's commandment, "Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Mt 5: 44)
Nobody can do this unless having a kind heart and calm nature following the way of our meek Lord who "has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. (Ps 103: 10)
The Lord even finds excuse for the wrongdoers.
When He went to Gethsemane with three of His disciples at a very critical time, when He was going to be arrested, and His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death (Mt 26: 38), His disciples did not keep watch with Him, for their eyes were heavy. Yet He just said to them, "What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?" And when they slept again, He found for them an excuse and said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Mt 26: 41) How meek and gentle are You, O Lord! Even at such a critical time You find for them an excuse!
The meek do not insist on their views, nor are obstinate.
When the meek join in some argument they try to win the other party, rather than win the argument itself. The do not reveal to the other party his faults or the weakness of his evidence, but positively and gently explain their own view. In this way they also win the argument.
A person who lacks meekness, on the contrary, holds to the least point in any argument and makes a big problem of it. People usually know this tendency of such a person and comment on it saying, 'You have fallen in the hands of so and so! May God save you, for he may bring out faults from your own words which you have never expected!'
The meek should not cause a problem while solving another.
The meek likes to avoid problems as far as possible, and even if there is a problem, the meek will endure it quietly or leave some time for it to be solved or to find for it a solution, letting it go rather than letting it cause bitterness to anybody. Any problem to such a meek person is like a piece of mud cast into a wide sea; it does not turn the sea turbid but rather dissolves in its depths!
A meek person is tolerant and tending to obedience.
The meek obeys only concerning matters that do not conflict with his conscience or with God's Commandment, for anything else may be responded to and is not worth argument or discussion.
A person who is not meek, on the contrary, is always firm and strong concerning anything required, keeps putting questions and hindrances, such as: What do you want? How can this be implemented amidst such hardships? Why me in particular? Why this speed? Why shall we not wait? Who told you that my time or circumstances do allow me? … Such a person keeps raising arguments, which may end either with refusal or with conditioned consent after long discussions.
The meek wants always to comfort the others.
Whatever good things in his power these he does calmly with love, without arguing or delay, obeying the words of the Scripture, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so." (Prov 3: 27)
The meek is always ready to render any service, whether as an official responsibility, or volunteering.
Some officials, on the contrary, lack the spirit of ministry and meekness in responding to the requests of the public. Therefore I once said, 'A meek and gentle official finds a solution for every problem, while the troublesome official finds a problem for every solution!!'
The meek, even if not a responsible official, tries to respond to everybody and fulfills any request cheerfully, and even if not required to do that he will do it voluntarily for the good of the others.
When the meek holds a post or receives an authority he uses it for the benefit of the others.
His heart will not be lifted up by the post or the authority, but continues to serve everybody and to realize to them what they wish such an authority or power, as the Lord said, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mt 20: 28)
That is why the meek is always loved by everybody.
People love his kind-heartedness, cheerfulness, good treatment of the others, obedience and service to everybody in a gentle way. Therefore they defend him if any harm befalls him, and say to whoever may do him harm, 'Have you found none but this good person to do him harm?!' He will not defend himself, but the others defend him. Whoever mistreats him due to his goodness will be pricked by his own conscience because of having done harm to a good harmless person!
The meek has a peaceful heart and is on good terms with the others.
However hard the circumstances may be the meek never reveals anxiety or nervousness, nor repays insult for insult, but has peace within, and with the others as well.
The meek is known for being quiet and far from violence.
Violence is contrary to meekness, for even if the meek is responsible and is required to rebuke, he does so without violence. And if he is required to judge others, he does this without cruelty or oppression. If he punishes or exhorts he does this gently, calmly and with love. To such a meek person applies the words we compiled as an elegy for Archdeacon Habib Guirgis:
O you powerful with no violence within, meek with no weakness;
Wise but chastening and rebuking with love and a voice full of kindness;
Your way is honest and chaste; your tongue is pure and decent;
You never dispraised anyone, nor found fault with one when necessary;
With love and encouragement you correct the bent,
And the dull becomes cheerful.
A meek person is simple.
The meek is not complicated, but may be simple and wise at the same time, as the Lord taught us, "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Mt 10: 6)
We will continue with the same topic next week –God willing- to speak about how to acquire meekness, and how some may lose it.