Are YOU Meek – Or Weak?

Experts have determined that getting angry is bad for your health. According to one study, bad-tempered people were three times more likely to have heart attacks than their calmer counterparts.

Not only can anger harm our health, but it also can make us say and do things we later regret. Have you ever been absolutely furious, spoke your mind, and felt really good about it? But after the adrenaline wore off, you thought, What on earth did I just do? How often we regret things we have said or done in anger.

But sometimes we should be angry. It is called righteous indignation, and Jesus Christ himself displayed it on more than one occasion. What exactly awakened this righteous anger in Jesus? We find the answer in a familiar Bible story in which Jesus cleared the temple in Jerusalem of some corrupt businessmen.

The problem was that the merchants and religious leaders were preying on the people – instead of praying for the people – who were coming to worship. If someone brought in a sacrifice, they would find a “blemish” on the animal (even if there wasn’t one) and then force the worshiper to buy another animal at a hiked-up price. Not only that, but the temple tax was accepted exclusively in temple currency, at an inflated rate of exchange.

Seeing all this made Jesus angry, because the temple had become what he called “a den of thieves.” So one day, he entered the temple and began turning over tables and driving out the merchants and moneychangers.

I particularly love this story, because this is the opposite of the meek and mild Jesus we are accustomed to. In fact, in most of the images of him that we see depicted in classic art, Jesus doesn’t look like he could turn over a chair, much less a table. But the Jesus of the New Testament, the real Jesus, was a man’s man. He was strong. The tables he overturned were not flimsy, temporary furniture. They were massive tables made out of heavy wood, even marble.

Now I have learned, from years of watching westerns, that if you want to make a point, then turn over a table. You know the scene: a bunch of guys are sitting around a table playing cards, when one looks across the table at another and declares, “You’re cheatin’!”

“No, I am not cheatin’!” the other guy insists.

“Oh yes, you are cheatin’!”

Then one of them stands up, turns over the table, and cards and chips go flying. The piano player freezes mid-note, and everyone backs away, because a gunfight is about to begin.

But long before the first western was ever made, Jesus overturned the tables in the temple. Money flew, people scattered, and doves flapped out of their cages. It was complete chaos.

We might feel puzzled by this seemingly contradictory behavior of Jesus. After all, he did say, “I am gentle and humble in heart.” But here is the problem: Sometimes we equate meekness with weakness. A good definition of meekness is “power under constraint.” Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is being able to do something, yet choosing not to. Weakness is not being able to do anything. Meekness is when the bully punches you, and you know you could take the bully out, but you decide that is not the best course of action. Weakness is not being able to hit back when the bully hits you.

I find it interesting that people usually are meek when it comes to defending others, but not themselves. In other words, they will rise up in anger when someone wrongs or hurts them, but they will say or do nothing when someone else is wronged.

Jesus was the very opposite of that. He was not angry in anticipation of the harm these people would do to him. In fact, he took the full brunt of their wrath when he allowed himself to be crucified. That was meekness – power under constraint. But he was indignant and angry when God’s people were hurt and were prevented from worshiping.

The bottom line is that the merchants and religious leaders were keeping people away from God. And that made him angry. Very angry. God, even at this time, welcomed all people, both Jews and Gentiles.

God still welcomes all people. Therefore, the church should be open to all people.

Perhaps you have not darkened the doorway of the church in a long time. You may have had a bad experience there years ago. Someone may have misrepresented God to you or somehow kept you away from church. Please know that God longs for a relationship with you, and he welcomes you to his family that gets together every Sunday (and other days, too, of course) in churches all around our great country. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from a relationship with Jesus Christ. There is really no more important thing than that.

As you know, my son Christopher died in July of this year. It was unexpected and still is very hard to accept. We were devastated and heartbroken. But I went to church that Sunday, only three days after his sudden departure, not because I am so strong spiritually, but because I am weak. And there, worshiping with God’s people and hearing his Word, I was lifted and encouraged with the great hope that I have in Christ that my son is in heaven, because he, too, put his faith in Jesus Christ. And I have received such comfort and encouragement from God’s people through this very difficult grieving process. I can’t imagine trying to do this alone.

For those who would say, “There are too many hypocrites in the church!” I would simply respond, “There’s always room for one more!” That is not to excuse hypocrisy, but to simply say we are all flawed people who will disappoint. But God never will. Don’t take my word for it, however. Find out for yourself.

1 Response to “Are YOU Meek – Or Weak?”

  1. 1 Robert

    Praise God!! It great to see that there are still people around who beleive in the same Jesus that I beleive in!! I have grown sick and tired of hearing about a whimpish, washed out coward who hung onto his mummy’s apron strings too long!! What kind of Messiah is that to follow? What kind of a Saviour would that be? I follow a person who knew where he was at, not some kind of a mindless little rodent. I totally ‘LOVE’ Christ, and would find it IMPOSSIBLE to follow him if he were the way so many people portray him to be. I follow a God of SUBSTANCE who offered up his best for us, not a God of the morose, who had only a whimp to offer for our sins. Praise him for all he has given unto us..

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