By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross
Weakness is not having the strength to do something. Meekness is having the strength and power but holding it back. Do not confuse meekness for weakness.
We all have power over someone. A parent has power over a child, a trainer in the arena with a whip has power over a horse, a rodeo judge has power over the contestant.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
Sounds like Jesus is telling us there’s a lot to be gained by holding back, even when it feels justified.
If we have strength over others, we can abuse that strength by taking more, living excessively, intimidating others or being abusive while putting our needs above others. Strength can lead to selfishness when it isn’t controlled.
The ideas Jesus was sharing in his Sermon on the Mount are challenging to the cowboy community. We’ve looked at how Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek to stop us from pursuing vengeance and giving us an opportunity instead to show others the power of forgiveness. That can become an illustration that can lead others to wanting to know about why we walked away from a situation and lead to a discussion about our saving faith in Jesus.
That’s why it is important to understand that choosing to turn the other cheek can be a sign of meekness that has absolutely nothing to do with being weak.
A person of great strength has the power to intimidate or abuse others but think about how much better a leader is if, instead of abusing that power, they treat someone with kindness and gentleness. By keeping strength under control, well, that takes even more strength than lashing out.
Peter lashed out when guards came to take Jesus away and Jesus commands Peter to put the sword away. While we know God’s plan for salvation was meant to unfold and Jesus would soon die for us on the Cross, Peter didn’t and his rash response, strength over that priest, would potentially have interfered with the need for Jesus to be arrested, tried and sacrificed for us on the cross.
Our self-control, or meekness, can set an example people are not expecting the way our culture normally handles situations and can lead to important discussions about salvation by showing a Christ-like response to others. That offers a great inheritance of eternal life in Heaven to others.
Does it bring God glory to use your power to lash out or does it bring Him glory for others to know you could have made hamburger out of a guy’s face, that he had it coming, but you held back your anger and spared him. That shows Jesus to the guy and opens the door to talk about salvation. THAT is something we’re all commanded to do but few of us ever do.
It can be hard for a cowboy, bull rider or outlaw to accept this but again, meekness is having real power but keeping it under control. Holding back takes more strength than letting loose. Be strong.