When we think of “meek” we typically think of someone that is very quiet, unassuming, and non-threatening. Someone that is meek is typically someone who will not speak up for him/herself, even if he/she is being mistreated. Yet Aristotle gives us a very different definition.
Aristotle defines meekness, (praotes), as the balance between excessive anger and excessive angerlessness. In typical Aristotle fashion, there is a “balance” of the virtue – so “meek” is the balance between being having TOO MUCH or TOO LITTLE anger.
Praus also has two other meanings:
- Able to be controlled, practice self-control
- True humility that eliminates all pride.
Jesus said it is in THIS type of meekness that we shall inherit the earth.
- If we want to lead, we first must find our own direction.
- If we want to serve, we must first be willing to put aside ourselves and our own desires.
- If we want to have responsibility and control over situations, we must first learn to control ourselves.
If we do these three things, we then are living out what Christ described as “meek.”
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth could translate to . . .
Oh the joy of those who rely on God for full direction while putting aside their own desires, passions, and quest for control; for people such as these will indeed lead the world!The standards of living in ancient Palestine were very different from what we have in both modern cultures – that of modern day Palestine/Israel and also in America.
Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Historically, a person in ancient Palestine ate meat once a week. Thus real hunger was not what we feel when we are craving lunch a few hours early . . . their hunger was a gut-grabbing, unable to be ignored hunger.
Same is true for water.
In the Holy Land, unless you were near the Jordan River or the Sea of Galilee, the land was not luscious and green. It was barren, dry land with little to no water.
Water was a huge commodity and something that determined the where and how life was built.
Thus, when one was hungry or thirsty, it was a more intense hunger or thirst than those of us reading this blog post with our Starbucks and computer in hand.
The hunger was that of someone close to starvation and the thirst referred to is that of someone who would die unless soon given something to drink.
So – this beatitude becomes one of both a question and a challenge.
How hungry and thirsty are we?
How intense is our desire for goodness?
Most of us want goodness but it is more of a wishful want. Not something we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for.
Real goodness demands sacrifice and effort on our part.
The other component of this is – those who receive goodness, and ultimately “joy,” are not necessarily those who REACH that place, or achieve it, but are those who long for it with their entire hearts.
The good news (and we call it grace) is that goodness, righteousness, blessedness, joy – it comes to all who, “in spite of failures and failings, still clutch to themselves the passionate love of the highest” (116).
Oh the joy of those who long for total and complete righteousness, as the starving long for food and the thirsty long for water. It is in this longing that all will be truly satisfied.