Strength Under Control

March 11, 2012
by Margaret Zondo

Matthew 5:5 – Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (NIV)

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines the word "meek" as humble and submissive or piously gentle in nature. Meekness can mean different things to different people. I like to think of meekness as strength under control, because not everyone who is humble or meek is submissive. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented the beatitudes, a fresh collection of Christian ideals that focus on love and humility rather than coercion and deceit. The beatitudes echo the highest ideals of the teachings of Jesus on mercy, spirituality, and compassion.

Colossians 3:12 – Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering. (English Revised Version)

During my high school days in rural Zimbabwe, we had a humble biology teacher who seldom demanded due respect from students. His attitude toward fellow teachers, workers, and students can be described as kind, gentle, friendly, and respectful. Students in his biology class benefited tremendously from his teaching style, and a number of his students were encouraged to proceed on to medical school.

2 Corinthians 12:10 – That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NIV)

Meekness is submitting ourselves to the Lord, and curbing our natural desire to rebel, fight, have our own way, push ourselves forward, or push back.

When I first came into contact with western culture, I was ashamed of my African upbringing. There is a perception that African women need to be taught how to be assertive and confident. In a typical African traditional setting, meekness is associated with women. They are to speak little and listen a lot, but perform their role as peacemakers with passion.

Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (NIV)

In reality, many women demonstrate strength under control by bearing all and being the cornerstone of their families and communities. Much is expected of them, so they wear many hats. They are nurturers, teachers, and peacemakers, with an abundance of resourcefulness. I recall how my mother always served herself last and was quick to forgo a meal if we had an unexpected visitor. Her life continues to be a mosaic of sacrifice, joy, and contentment.

Micah 6:8 – He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord, we are who we are because of Your mercy and will. Save us from ourselves so that we may see Your face in all Your creation. May we be slow to judge, but rather seek to understand each other, and acknowledge and celebrate the diverse gifts in one another. We ask these things in the name of Your precious Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Margaret Zondo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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