We've been talking a lot lately about humility. Whether in the Sunday sermon, our daily devotional or the Wednesday
evening Bible study, the topic seems to be front and center. And I know what you're thinking, because I'm thinking
it too; it's hard to be humble when you're as good as I am!
Kidding aside, humility is something that we all should be striving for, though I can understand and even agree, to a certain extent, why the idea of it isn't attractive. When we're humble we do things like, admit our sins and shortcomings, apologize when we wrong someone, hold our tongues when we are wronged, and refrain from making those self-appreciative comments when we do the right thing. These actions, while humble, can make us look weak in the eyes of non-believers. And weak people are victims to be taken advantage of. It's happened to every single one of us, that time or times when we go over and above to “do it the right way” and then it becomes expected that we continue to go over and above and even beyond what our peers do, sometimes to the extent that we wind up doing most, if not all the work. If this wasn't true, there wouldn't be any sayings like “give ‘em an inch and they'll take a mile”.
None of us want to appear weak. When I think of weakness, I think of that one lame gazelle on the edge of the herd, limping around, searching for leftovers while the lioness is planning on making it the pride's main course for dinner. When we look like a victim, especially in today's turbulent world, we could very easily find ourselves in an extremely uncomfortable situation one evening, when we're approached by a couple of strangers in the middle of the Walmart parking lot.
But, is that what Jesus meant for us to project, weakness?
Who does the Bible say will inherit the Earth? The Weak? No, I'm pretty sure that it says that the meek will inherit the Earth. What's the difference? Let's look.
The definition of weakness is: the state or quality of being weak; lack of strength, vigor, or the like; feebleness.
The definition of meekness is: righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering, long suffering, willing to follow gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple.
So, not really the same thing, huh?
To be meek is to be humble, not timid. It's not “tooting our own horn” or criticizing others. It's being helpful, while maintaining a fair workload. It's being sincere in our apologies, not boastful about the things that we've accomplished or being too prideful in the stuff that we have — or should I say — all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us through His grace. Because if it weren't for grace, and grace alone, we would find it difficult, indeed, even to take our next breath if He decided to withhold the air that surrounds us. Everything we have, from the clothes that we wear, the cars that we drive, the houses where we live and even the bodies in which our souls reside came from our Father in Heaven.
In my youth, I was a very arrogant man. I wasn't good looking — far from it in fact — I wasn't a great athlete — even farther from that — and I wasn't a particularly good student. What I was, was an outsider. By the time I started working at 16, my family had moved 18 times. I was always the new kid, I was always the fat kid, and I eventually learned that the best way to keep from being picked-on — to keep from being a victim — was to be aggressive. And it was an easy lesson, too. All I had to do was stand up to the bullies and they would back down. I became the guy you didn't want to mess with. Unfortunately, this behavior translated into my business persona all too easily. I was very overbearing with my employees and as a result, I was not well liked. I found myself going from job to job, not because I wasn't good at what I did — I was very good at what I did — but because I was a jerk, and people didn't want to work with me. It took me years to learn from the example of others that you can attract a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar, but there's always a danger there of becoming a pushover. It's a very fine line between being domineering and being a wimp, and it took time for me to find that balance. Eventually I did, and my job got a great deal easier.
In my (humble) opinion, any leader worth his or her salt leads by example. As Christians, we are all meant to be leaders. We are all meant to lead others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we must be that example of grace and humility that Jesus wants us to be, at all times, because we are being watched at all times. The example we set, whether it's the way we dress, showing courtesy when driving around town, or simply how our yard looks, people are watching to see just what kind of folks Christian's are. Imagine if the only example they had of what Christianity is was the hypocrites they show on TV protesting soldiers funerals and the like. Who in their right mind would want any part of that?
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
The battle is on!
Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
G. J. Fortier is a member of Ironmen Ministries and First Baptist Church, Centerville, GA. Look for his novels on Amazon on Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.GerardFortier.com