The BE-Attitudes: Don’t Be a Doormat!

The words of the Beatitudes in the shape of a cross The Be-Attitude we are focusing on this month of May is found in the fifth chapter of Matthew. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.2

Most people, when they hear the word “meek,”  usually begin to think of those quiet souls who don’t make much of a splash in the world. We picture individuals we know who are soft-spoken—almost withdrawn from interaction with the world around them.

You might hear “meek” and immediately get a mental image of the quiet studious boy in the library with the thick glasses and the penchant for reading rather than sports. We might picture the young girl who is never noticed at the junior high dance or the child who is not invited to the birthday party at the neighbor’s. Maybe we remember the guy at the office whose name is only known in the HR department. You know…the general doormat.

“Meekness” for most of us is almost seen as being non-committal—shy to the point of being invisible, so quiet as to be almost mute.

Yet, in spite of the almost negative spin we put on the trait, Jesus praised “meekness” as a quality that the children of God should be pursuing on a regular basis! It is the “meek”… “humble.”… “submissive”…that Jesus says will inherit the earth.2 The meek…not the doormat.

God’s definition

Meekness, in God’s Word, is a state of  being humble and gentle toward others. It is a willingness to be submissive and obedient to God. Meekness is the opposite of selfishness, arrogance or pride. The meek are not pushy in their opinions. They do not stick their nose in everybody else’s business. Meek people are not obnoxious busy-bodies. They shun being “loud and proud” and do not seek to gain notoriety or status based on their words or actions.

The “meek” (as God recognizes them) are those who have a quiet but confident trust in the Lord and are willing to do whatever He commands by leaning on the power that He alone supplies. Perhaps the best definition of “meekness” as the Bible presents it is “STRENGTH UNDER CONTROL.”

The World’s definition

The world defines strong people as those who are assertive. They take charge and are proud, self-sufficient, self-reliant and independent. We usually picture a meek person as the opposite of these things. That is why so many people associate meekness with weakness. Yet, in God’s opinion, the meek individual has chosen to be submissive, is humble and gentle and relies on God. In fact, the truly meek man or woman is TOTALLY dependent of God to provide the strength needed for the task or trial at hand.

If you think that meekness is one of the weakest attributes, I challenge you to try following God’s definition of meekness for a while! You will soon discover that humbling yourself—being willing to rely on God’s strength rather than your own—is definitely the more difficult choice.

Examples of Meekness

Three people in the Bible are specifically described as being meek.

  1. In Numbers, we read “now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth”.3
  2. The apostle Paul describes himself this way. “By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you. I, Paul, who am timid when face to face with you, but bold toward you when away!”4
  3. And of course, there is Jesus who said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”5

Scholars agree that these men were surely three of the most persecuted men in the Bible. However, they all displayed “strength under control” through their persecutions and trials. That is truly a sign of “meekness—NOT weakness.” Certainly, they were no doormat.

One of the definitions in Webster’s Dictionary for meek is “enduring injury with patience and without resentment.” It does not say meek is like a doormat to be walked on, used and abused. Certainly Moses, Paul and Jesus would qualify to be defined as “meek.”

A Way of Life

Meekness (or humility) as the Bible would describe it is not just a virtue to be cultivated. It is a way of life and how we should relate to one another on a daily basis. Paul reminded the Philippians “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves…look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others.”6

The Message Bible paraphrase continues this lesson from Paul through the letter: “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of Himself that He had to cling to the advantages of that status…NOT AT ALL! When the time came, He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave—became human! Having become human, He stayed human…He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life.”7

There is a distinct different between confidence and arrogance. That dividing line is “meekness.” Arrogance says, “I have skills and YOU must recognize them.” Confidence says, “I have skills, and I recognize them as gifts from God to be used under His guidance and authority.”

Humility, or meekness, changes how we view ourselves. When we are meek, our goal is never to exalt ourselves or to“lord it over” others. In essence, when we are meek, we tend to think of ourselves less often and to think of others more.

Jesus was no doormat!

Being a follower of Jesus Christ does not mean that our own wants and needs are not important. But it does mean that we have an obligation to follow God—to service others according to His will. It means to put the wants of needs of others ahead of our own. Humility—meekness—reminds us to put other people first.

Jesus washing the disciples feet - a dispay of meeknessJesus gave His disciples a concrete example of this in the Gospel of John. They had been walking all over the countryside the past few days. The Palm Sunday procession was over. The betrayal, denial and the crucifixion were close at hand.  The Master was on a mission. He had work to finish before the cross was raised on Golgotha’s hill. As they prepared to eat their final meal together, Jesus realized no one had arranged for a servant to wash the day’s dust from their feet. So, He silently removed His outer garments, wrapped a towel around Himself and after filling a basin with water, He began to bathe their dirty feet.

Of course, Peter raised a ruckus. “You shall never wash my feet.” 8 Jesus firmly, but gently, extracted Peter’s dirty digits from the fold of his robe and carefully removed the day’s dust. When He was done, He spoke these words. “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet…I have given you an example. Do as I have done to you…a servant is not greater than his master; nor is He who is sent greater the He who sent Him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you DO them.”9

Don’t be a doormat!

It is only by studying the Scriptures and by observing the life, actions and ministry of our Lord among us, that we will understand what He meant in the Sermon of the Mount. Meekness is “strength under control.” It is in putting other people first. It is setting aside our own wants and desires to serve others.

This is not becoming a “doormat”. It is becoming like our Lord and Master, Jesus the Christ. THIS is how we inherit the earth—and the Kingdom of God.

Scriptures Used in Today’s Message

  1. 1 Peter 2:21-23
  2. Matthew 5:5
  3. Numbers 12:3
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:1
  5. Matthew 11:29
  6. Philippians 2:4
  7. Philippians 2:5-8 (The Message Bible)
  8. John 13:8
  9. John 13:12-17

Maple UMC Calendar

March 2023

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