I like Jesus’ great invitation at the end of Matthew 11:“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I like that fact that Jesus suggests we learn meekness by observing and studying him. So, obviously, meekness is not a natural character trait like being sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic or choleric, but a learned behaviour.
I have various mantras, what Gretchen Rubin calls “splendid truths.” (One of these, adopted from her, calms me down: “There is only love.”) I need to add one more: “I will learn how to be meek and humble of heart from Jesus.” Since, obviously, it does not come naturally!!
* * *
Why would one want to be humble of heart? Because pride is silly, narrow and self-centred. We are not focused on anything important, anything worth having, but merely on self, on how others perceive us, and treat us.
Why would one want to be meek? Because being gentle is the best way to be, rather than being proud and aggressive.
And besides, the meek inherit the earth: The value of meekness, even in regard to worldly property and success in life, is often exhibited in the Scriptures. It is also seen in common life that a meek, patient, mild man is the most prospered. An impatient and quarrelsome man raises up enemies; often loses property in lawsuits; spends his time in disputes and broils rather than in sober, honest industry; and is harassed, vexed, and unsuccessful in all that he does. (Barnes Notes on the Bible.)
* * *
So how does one learn to be meek? Practice. Practice meek practices.
So that is what I am training myself to do.
Let others have the last word. If someone puts you down, let them.
Overlook lots of things. Blow things away with the breath of kindness. When spoken to harshly, you don’t need to retort in kind. Return a gentle answer or none at all when someone gets irrational through tiredness. This is particularly useful in family life: the blind eye and the deaf ear so that one can get on with one’s work.
Ignore negativity directed at you on social media as much as possible. Block repeat offenders.
Practice, practice, practice, one step after another, until all this becomes second nature!
* * *
Learn from Jesus how to be gentle and humble, and the prize is the rest we seek, as we work–as we sleep–as we relax–as we live.
Our souls are as rested when we work, or hang out at home, as they are after a week of beach and mountain walks, because we are choosing meekness which obviates conflict, and we are choosing humility, daily defining all our grand ambitions, and then placing them in his hands to grant–or not.