Meekness: Reviled with a Smile (Fruits of the Spirit part 8)

“The fruit of the Spirit is…meekness”

Toward the end of our list, we have the fruit of meekness (often retranslated as gentleness, but there’s a difference). This is an interesting one. Not to be confused for weakness either, this fruit as manifest in the believer is the reason why you can be spit upon (literally or figuratively), reviled, hated and even killed (martyred). Nietzsche certainly misunderstood it. He called Jesus an example of “supine weakness”. And if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then not only is our faith in Him a waste of time (see 1 Corinthians 15:13-14), He must have been a fool to give His life as the ultimate example of meekness. Rather than fight back, Jesus showed meekness by allowing Himself to be martyred (and murdered).

This is serious as religious persecution still happens in the world today. Meekness, though, makes it bearable. When Jesus says to “turn to him the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39), it’s understood that that you are “bearing His reproach” (see Hebrews 13:13). When our natural inclination is to retaliate, only the meekness of the Holy Spirit could enable someone to overcome the revenge instinct and not take it personally. What takes greater strength? To exact vengeance upon those who’ve wronged you? Or in love and in spite of the wrong, forgive and pray for them? It’s not weakness, it’s meekness. Don’t confuse the two.

Peter wrote of it: “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1 Peter 2:20)

This, coming from the man who cut off someone’s ear after they came to arrest Jesus. (see Matthew 26:51-52)

Here’s another thought: I’ve heard it said that meekness also means teachability. I’ve wrestled with this definition as it is not immediately evident. Consider this though, in the mind, where all our outward actions are conceived, the fruit of meekness will manifest itself there first by enabling us to be taught by the Holy Spirit how to implement this attitude into our actions. See John 14:26-27. The reward from God is great.

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