On the meek will inherit the earth…

I lived the first 25 years of my life as blunt instrument hitting whatever I needed to hammer down. Now, my hard edges have been smoothed by the steadfast love of a good husband.

I asked my husband last week how I come to across to other people, and he said “You seem meek, but kind.”

Do you ever think back on the person you use to be and miss her? Sometimes I think of a few of my former traits, and long for the girl who is no longer there. That girl is confident, loud, and self-assured in all that she does. I often say in passing to my friends that I am mean and I am blunt. But when I think back on the last few years, I can recall very few interactions where I was intentionally cruel or unnecessarily blunt.

Through a first bad marriage, and thankfully, a second incredible marriage I have become a different person.

Saturday morning I was working out at the gym thinking of my lack of confidence. I immediately felt bad for becoming less confident over the years. Aren’t we suppose to become more confident? Then, I realized that I really like who I am. And somehow I have lost the need for other people to agree with whatever I believe.

As I was leaving the gym on the verge of tears a Bible verse came into my ears, “For the meek will inherit the earth.”

I wanted to make sure I understood the verse, so I spent a bit of yesterday digging in.

That verse is one of the eight Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes are remarkable because in them Jesus gives credence to traits that we do not often value in society such as: poor in spirit, mercy, peacemaking, and meekness.

What does it mean to be “meek”?

“…“meek” is from the Greek term praus. It does not suggest weakness; rather, it denotes strength brought under control. The ancient Greeks employed the term to describe a wild horse tamed to the bridle.”

The last five years of my life have been profoundly better because of my husband. He has given me two things I never knew before: kindness and grace. A good marriage honors Christ because it echoes Christ’s sacrifice for us so that we can live grace-filled lives. Del’s kindness has rubbed off on me. I lived the first 25 years of my life as blunt instrument hitting whatever I needed to hammer down. Now, my hard edges have been smoothed by the steadfast love of a good husband.

Grace has helped me submit to what God calls me to do. I give grace when I do not feel like it, and I reach for kindness when I want to scream.

The meek are those whom are strong – but have submitted to will of God. We have let go of many of our own desires because we understand that what Christ calls us to do is more important. I do not always need to be right, because instead – I am called to be kind. I do not always need to talk, because God asks me to listen to those that need it. I am meek. I submit to His control.

What does it mean to “inherit the earth”?

For most of the history of the earth land was fought over. The blood of millions of people was spilled for land God created for us to thrive in. Brute force in the form of swords, guns, and bombs are how the earth was settled and conquered.

Brute force is the direct opposite of meekness. Brute force imposes power over another person to do what you want. Brute force does not submit to Christ.

Contrary to practice, those that will inherit the garden are not those that take it but are those that have submitted.

I am meek, for I have submitted. I have lost a bit of my own selfishness to gain something superior; God’s will in my life. With that will, my fellow meek believers and I will inherit the earth.

Is it a hill worth dying on?…

The church picks the strangest hills to die on. I’ve fallen victim to those battles, disagreeing with people over guitar solos and politics. But I always wonder why we are picking these battles?

A few years ago our small group at church read Brian McLaren’s book “A Generous Orthodoxy.”

Our hope in reading the book was to understand different denominations and how Christian denominations have evolved over time. Our group would read a chapter, and then discuss it.

Each chapter of the book is broken down like this:

capture

To those entrenched in the church, the books is divisive. But to many folks, the reading is simply a book for churchy people. I understand the different perceptions of the book.

Our small group is a mixed bag of my favorite people in the world. We have a pastor’s kid with degrees in ministry, we have folks that have attended church most of their lives, and we have folks that are newer to church.

A few chapters into the book our group started having a heated discussion over denomination X.

The pastor’s kid, who is well versed in theology and the history of the church, started a long explanation of how the denomination came to be. The explanation went on to say how one denomination started a fight with another denomination because they disagreed over church pews. That went into how two other denominations split off because they disagreed about music style. Then there were more splits, and more splits, and then another split…

After hearing the long explanation of denomination splits, the member that was newest to church said perhaps my favorite sentence I’ve ever heard in small group. He interrupted to say quite passionately, “Who gives a fuck?  We’re all fighting over the dumbest shit. Aren’t we here for Jesus?”

The room shut down.

After a few moments of silence, laughter erupted for a simple truth had been uttered.

The church picks the strangest hills to die on. I’ve fallen victim to those battles, disagreeing with people over guitar solos and politics. But I always wonder why we are picking these battles?

If all we do is fight over how to get there, then I doubt we’re ever going to get there. I’ve brought this up before.

Matthew tells us, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

If that is the essence of a church, then perhaps all of our fighting is just over complicating what is incredibly simple. Fights tend to divide people, not unite them. How will we ever unite people around Christ if we’re fighting over church pews?

And what is worth fighting over within our Church?

Communion styles? Music styles? The seating? To have a screen or not have a screen?

I’m not saying we should not ask questions. The Bible is FULL of folks asking incredibly important questions.

Books are written by theologians far smarter than I will ever be. But sometimes I read these books and feel like they miss what only the newest folks are brave enough to utter: Aren’t we all here for Jesus?

Only in our unity can we win this battle. And when we fight amongst ourselves, we create unnecessary division. Some hills are worth dying on, but most are not.