- Chelsea Igtanloc
Meekness: an Unexpected Stretch
I've always been bad at stretching. It's just hard, and somehow you always have to be balanced. It takes a lot to stay in one position for a long time, and it’s even worse when doing it on one foot. If your mind is constantly running, thinking of the next thing (and the next after that), you might struggle in the same way. To focus while balancing, even for those few seconds, can feel like hours at a time.
Balance not only physically, but mentally and spiritually is an important skill. ‘Blessed are the meek’ reaches toward being more mentally and spiritually balanced, or virtuous. Not going to lie, I did not know what being meek really meant until doing this blog post. I learned to be meek is to actively choose not to react when being wronged, but instead choosing to forgive without any thought of superiority nor plotting any revenge. People make mistakes and actions can hurt, but your own reaction can speak in volumes. This virtuous response is similar to stretching because it takes a lot of effort to have a balanced perspective during that time.
We usually stretch before an intense workout or anything that might be physically exhausting. In this case, being meek is a response you have to choose as it’s happening. Thinking back to all the times I've tried to be meek (rather than being boastful or wanting revenge), I realize that it takes wisdom and practice to really accomplish. It is easy to fall into the extremes. When someone does you wrong, the first thought may be to get revenge on them. When you have accomplished a lot in life, the first thought may be to boast to everyone you know. These are two very clear sides of one spectrum. But, despite being in an individualistic society, you are called to not to make everything a competition.
Extremes are so well-defined. Pride and revenge are easily recognized in any given situation, but God never advises us to take the easy way out. We must always go toward where we will grow. When moving away from extremes, we begin to reach middle ground and some balance. This can be scary. We might wonder where there is a guidebook on how to navigate that unknown territory. Here, we look to scripture and become students of our own hearts by asking,
“how is the Word of God speaking to me on this topic of meekness?”
God never intended for us to be compared to one another or to be distant. We were made for love and to love one another. Though people may wrong us or feelings of entitlement may seep through, God teaches us a way that often feels counter intuitive - the Way of the Cross.
Jesus wants us to be meek, to turn the other cheek, and to forgive those who wrong us. He also wants us to be intentional in taking that step back and responding in love rather than reacting in anger or hurt. A huge misconception is that ‘being meek’ is also being weak, which is totally incorrect. In the song ‘Collide’ by Howie Day, he says, “Even the wrong words rhyme sometimes’, and in no way is this truer than now. You are not weak for consciously taking a step back, in fact part of being meek is keeping strength under control. Meekness assumes strength. Sometimes it takes a step back to run forward.