Give to Live 3, or Of Meek and Cheeks

meek-humane

Meekness is a commonly misunderstood virtue

This week I’ve been talking about Sammy Hagar’s song Give to Live, and how it expresses some of the fundamental truths of life in general and the Law of Attraction in particular. Today I want to wrap it up by focusing on the third line in the chorus:

“If you want peace turn your cheek a little.”

We’ve all heard the expression “turn the other cheek.” It comes from two places in the New Testament:

“…resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39

and

“…unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.” Luke 6:29

He wasn’t talking about nations at war, or someone whose life was in immediate danger. He was speaking about insults, about someone striking a person in order to degrade them and show their superiority over them. By refusing to resist the insult, by offering the person the other cheek to strike as well, you are removing the effectiveness of the person’s insult. It shows you as a the superior person, because you refuse to stoop to the attacker’s level. You also leave them in a no-win situation. Either they refuse to strike the other cheek as well, in which case they are seen to be backing down, or they do strike, which makes them seem to all watching like just that much more of a jerk.

What Jesus was illustrating here is something that is often called the Law of Non-Resistance. Similar to a stream flowing downhill, we are to flow around obstacles in life instead of wasting our energies resiting them. If we repay an insult with another insult, we only succeed in setting up a spiral of more and more insults, hard feelings and damaged relationships. We lower ourselves to the same level as the attacker and waste energy in a non-productive pursuit.

This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of being meek. The virtues of meekness are praised throughout the Bible, perhaps most recognizably in Matthew:

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

Many people have the idea that meek equals weak. This isn’t so. The relationship between meekness and weakness is in some ways similar to the relationship between weight and mass. They can appear similar on the surface but they are two entirely different things.

Meekness is very similar to humility. A meek person is quiet and gentle. They don’t have to stomp around making sure everyone knows how powerful they are. They are secure enough in their own strength that they don’t need to demonstrate it at every opportunity. In fact, meekness is often described as “strength under control.” Would you like a modern example? Think “Bruce Banner”.

No matter what your goals are, there are going to be problems along the way. Life is going to throw rocks into your path. The question is, are you going to stand there with a hammer and waste your energy beating on them? Or are you going to use them as stepping stones to get you where you need to be?

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