Meekness, And All The Other Virtues
By: Mary Hogan
Everybody has heard of the beatitudes from the Bible, more specifically the passage “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” but who are the meek? What is meekness? And lastly, how can you become meek?
I have often been described (and generally describe myself) as introverted, timid, quiet, or shy. At times, I also attach the word meek to this section of descriptions, despite my limited knowledge and understanding of this word. I have always known it’s a virtue, and has something to do with being quiet or humble, but have never actually taken the time to learn what this word means. After all, it’s simple enough to say “I’m meek,” without really finding out what that entails. So for this reason, I would like to dive deeper into the meaning of meekness.
According to the Bible, meekness is being humble and gentle towards others, and willingly being submissive and obedient to God. So, instead of being quiet for personal reasons, meekness really is a call to help others in a quiet way. It can also mean being confident in God, and truly trusting what He has in store for us. True, perfect meekness, which we are called to strive for, is like all other virtues. It has no disadvantages, instead, it’s a good personal quality.
By contrast, shyness is showing reservation or nervousness near others. As with all personality types, being introverted (or shy) has its perks, and its drawbacks. I find some advantages being the ability to easily listen to others, without the urge to share all of my thoughts, and an ever present excuse from interaction with others: “I really can’t, I’m too shy”. The major disadvantage, which can be connected to the former advantage, is having trouble socializing with others or collaborating. This, of course, is a vital life skill because we are surrounded by people, and cannot survive without communicating with others.
As you can now see, when these two descriptions are compared side by side, they mean quite the opposite. Meekness is showing obedience and gentleness to the community, whereas shyness is drawing away from the community. However, in which ways is meekness portrayed in our culture, the “real world” and how does that compare to it’s true meaning?
Firstly, I would like to take the time to mention that we are not defined by “the culture”. In fact, I hope you strive to be above the normal standards in our world. As C. S. Lewis so wisely wrote in The Screwtape Letters, “a normal twentieth century girl… will mean increasingly… a minx, a moron, and a parasite”. For example, many girls these days spend their time gossiping, especially about those who are in any way different from themselves. As Christians, we have learned that instead of this common practice, we should try to befriend others. We know that we are all created differently for a very important reason. Dr. Seuss illustrates this point perfectly, through the saying, “why fit in when you were born to stand out?” In modern day society, meekness and other virtues are mostly frowned upon, and replaced by egoistic and narcissistic beliefs. We’ve all heard the sayings: “what’s in it for me?” or “self above service” and countless others.
Since the dawn of creation, our instincts have taught us to be selfish and suspicious, for survival reasons. However, after, Jesus taught us a better way, giving us the beatitudes, the ten commandments, and the parables. Unfortunately, we, as a civilization, have been all too quick on turning our backs on Him and His teachings, to return to the easier way, the more selfish way. Unfortunately, that means that it’s up to us to be examples of the virtues, including meekness, and to try to figure out what they truly mean. So I urge you, dear readers, to continue the good work that you do which is to continue in practising the virtues.