Tag Archives: meekness


Coming Together

(A six minute read – part of a year-long series on the Ministry of Reconciliation)

Reconciliation (noun) /ˌrek.ənˌsɪl.iˈeɪ.ʃən/: The process of making two opposite beliefs, ideas or situations agree.

It’s easy to pass this word off as only relevant for person-to-person conflict. Something done after a war, or a genocide, or when a business partnership goes bad. Perhaps it’s a January response to that ugly political discussion at the holiday dinner table.

Reconciliation is much more

Reconciliation is much, much bigger than that. It’s about charting new courses for ourselves. It’s about listening to one another. It’s about being willing to reserve judgment. It’s about wanting to be nice. It’s about healing. Ultimately, its about forgiveness. More on that in a moment.

The Bible says that, as a Christian, I’ve been given the ‘ministry of reconciliation.’ What is that? It means my purpose here is to bring love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control into all I do. Those are the tools in my tool-kit for building reconciliation among estranged parties.

The Biblical word for reconciliation in the Greek is katallagē (καταλλαγή), which means restoration to favor.

It comes from the root word katallassō (καταλλάσσω), which means to change mutually.

See the connection? Mutual change is an adjustment you and I make through compromise. It comes through listening and reserving judgment until we can both change. Only then, can we again favor one another.

What’s that about forgiveness?

If I’m in dispute with you I can’t reconcile with you until I forgive you. Forgive you for being a jerk. For having wrong ideas. For disagreeing with me. For whatever is on my list that gives me the self-righteous excuse to push you away, to stop listening, to stop caring about you.

Only through forgiveness can I become willing to return (repent) to a state of right relationship with you. Only then can I reconcile. Assuming you too are willing, of course. You just might have your own list and be enjoying the fruits of your own anger.

If that’s the case: Houston, we have a problem.

Easily dealt with

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Love. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s one of the tools in that tool-kit, remember?

Last week, I wrote about my friend Brian, who met love in the midst of a group of young people who talked him out of suicide. God’s love, expressed through them, radically changed his life.

That love reconciled Brian to God, from whom he’d been estranged his entire life. It also reconciled him to other people, whom he’d been blaming for his troubles. Finally, it reconciled him to himself.

He was living one way, met love, and now lives another.

I’m not saying that love without God in it can’t lead to some level of reconciliation. It can. But I don’t believe it transforms us, and it’s much harder for it to last. Reconciliation is God language. We can borrow it, but if He’s not in it, it’s not as powerful as when He is. His involvement gives it a capital letter, as it were.

Reconciliation happens everywhere

God is always all-in. He does nothing by half measures. If God is love, then He is always love, and is love all the time. He is not arbitrary. Sure, it’s easy to ask amid a pandemic, ‘Oh yeah? So where’s God in this?’

That’s a great question. In fact, that’s the right question. Because God always comes into evil situations – whether created by the devil directly, or by my own sin. When I look for Him – I can find a path to reconciliation.

God showed up in our neighborhood as Jesus Christ, to reconcile the world to Himself, no longer counting our sins against us – if we believe in Him.1 It’s pretty simple, really.

So He continues: reconciling all of creation to Himself. It’s happening all the time everywhere, whether we can see it or not.

Of course, we can work against it. If I come up and hit you in the nose, that’s not what you’d call a reconciling gesture. However, even in that stupid act and its aftermath, there is an opportunity for reconciliation to begin.

Physically, it’s obvious: the blood clots and then soon stops flowing; in a short time the pain and swelling recede; damaged tissue repairs itself; not too long after, it’s as though nothing happened.

On a heart level it’s a different matter. If I’m not willing to apologize profusely (and probably, have a pretty good excuse that you’ll accept!) you won’t begin to think about forgiving me. Thus, I stop that omnipresent reconciliation in its tracks. Or, if you think I’m offering a bogus excuse, or are insincere, you may also call a halt to the healing.

See? Even when it doesn’t happen, it’s still available. The potential remains. We just have to grab it, and it becomes real.

Looking ahead

Hang on to this idea that reconciliation is happening all the time, everywhere. Because we’ll explore that in the coming weeks. And I think you’ll be surprised to find out that it shows up in some seemingly unlikely places.

1. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 (NLT) ‘For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.’

Definition courtesy of Cambridge Dictionary

Read the entire series

Russian riding horse

Be Meek!

(A four minute read)

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’. [Matthew 5:5] Be meek!

Meekness does not mean weakness, rather the strong who place themselves in a position of weakness, where they persevere without giving up. The Greek word Jesus is quoted as using, [πραυς) means “tame” when applied to animals. These animals have not lost their strength but have learned to control the destructive instincts that prevent them from living in harmony with others.

You and I have been created as powerful beings with free will. We can encourage life in others, or we can bring death. We can choose to love, or do evil. It is the taming of our urges to harm, to dominate, to lash out, to criticize that make us meek. We are like a war horse that is perfectly tame under a warrior’s hand, and yet ready to immediately exercise great power on command.

When Jesus taught ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ [Matthew 5:5] in His Sermon on the Mount, He was speaking to a crowd that well understood ‘meekness’ as ‘power under control’. Meekness did not equal weakness, but submission. It meant acting under proper authority.

So what was Jesus telling his disciples to do? What were they to submit to? What power was he referring to?

He was referring to His own example of power under control. Just as He submitted to His heavenly Father, members of the crowd were to submit to Jesus.

This great sermon came early in Jesus’ ministry. As context, Matthew’s account finds Jesus preaching and ‘healing all kinds of sickness and all sorts of diseases among the people’. [Matthew 4:23b] His fame spread as rapidly as a person could walk or ride from town to town, conveying the amazing news: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed and the lame walk!

Soon, he was inundated with ‘great crowds’ that were hard to control. Indeed, Luke records ‘The whole crowd tried to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all’. [Luke 6:19]

How many are in a ‘great crowd?’ Hundreds certainly, thousands likely, tens of thousands possibly. considering some came from up to 50 miles away – many days on foot. And, He healed them all, with His meekness, His ‘power under control.’

The crowd came with expectation for His words, but especially for His healing power. As He always did, Jesus demonstrated to the crowd by His lifestyle how they themselves could bring the kingdom of heaven to earth:

  1. Be alone with God the Father and get into relationship with Him: ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel’. [Mark 1:15b-16]
  2. Submit to Him through prayer: ‘But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret’. [Matthew 6:6a]
  3. Through His presence, release the power of heaven into the earth: ‘Heal the sick who are there and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’. [Luke 10:9]

The Scripture accounts record this process. Remember, Jesus the Son could only do what God the Father was doing. He was like any other child, looking to a parent for instruction and direction. ‘Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does’. [John 5:19]

To maintain this connection with the Father, to ‘see what the Father was doing’, Jesus would often go off by himself to pray. On one particular night, before delivering the Sermon on the Mount, he spent the night in solitary, then He named 12 of His many followers as Apostles.

After that, ‘He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples an even larger group was following Him) and a great crowd of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases’. [Luke 6:17]

What is that last bit? People came to hear Him and ‘be healed of their diseases.

We think of the Sermon on the Mount as being full of great teaching, but let us not forget that for his followers, in addition to being edified, ‘they were healed‘. [Luke 6:18b]

They all followed those same three steps. They got alone with God-made-flesh, Jesus, submitted to Him,and then saw the power of heaven released. Their sicknesses were healed, ‘including those who were vexed by unclean spirits’. [Luke 6:18a]

Did this happen because they were pushy or aggressive? Or because they made some special sacrifice or said some special prayer? No – it was because they were meek. They placed themselves under their Master’s authority.

Scripture emphasis mine.
Image: Ponyart, via Wikimedia Commons