Beatitudes – Week 3 – “Learning Gentleness”

Last week we touched on the idea of corporate repentance. We considered the human need to get things off our chests in order to move on and find healing.

In his study on the Beatitudes, John Stott writes, “I can read a corporate confession in church and it causes me no great problem; I can take it in my stride. But let someone else come up to me after church and call me a sinner, I want to punch that person in the nose! I am not prepared to allow other people to think or speak of me what I have just acknowledged before God that I am. There is a basic hypocrisy here; there always is when meekness, the third quality Jesus emphasises, is absent.”

Jealousy, want, success, ambition, authority, submission, pride, … All these concepts appear to be viewed very differently in the church than in the world outside its doors. Today we look at one of these that is at the heart of the difference between the teaching of Christ and the world we are called to live in – meekness!

Ice breaker:

“He’s a proud Welshman!”“She’s a proud feminist!”“I’m black and I’m proud!”
I wonder, when our eulogies are read, would we rather be remembered as ‘proud’ or ‘meek’?
Explain what feelings those words conjure up in you. Do those words have different meanings when referring to race, gender or ideology as opposed to personal achievements?
Does it somehow seem more acceptable when those who have been historically looked down upon refer to themselves as proud – if so, why?

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

There was a time when this poster was making the rounds in an attempt to help Jesus shake off his meek and mild image – the problem is that in Matthew 11:29 – Jesus describes himself as “…meek and lowly in heart…”(KJV) or “gentle and humble in heart” (NIV). The word translated “gentle” in Matthew 11:29 is the same Greek word translated as “meek” in Matthew 5:5. But Jesus didn’t just say it, He lived it out too, describing His entire ministry as one of humble service (Luke 22:27). This Idea must have stuck – because some 30 years later Paul too referred to the “meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:1). Perhaps Jesus wasn’t too fussed whether or not the church’s overpaid PR consultants would struggle with the whole image of meekness 2000 years after his death.

Q 1- Thinking of the people that Jesus chose to live amongst – simple fishermen, a despised tax collector, an anarchist zealot and an embezzling thief – all looked down upon and oppressed by the all-powerful, ruthless Roman imperial machine.
Why might Jesus have chosen to describe himself as meek and what might that have meant to each of them?

Watch together this video about this verse to help you discuss it.

Q 2- This video very helpfully redefines meekness as “restraint” rather than weakness.
How can we as Christians demonstrate self-controlled restraint and humble submission in each area of our lives today as a witness of our faith? (Work, Family, Neighbours, Church…) Have you struggled with any of these in the past?

Application:
Take time this week to deliberately look more thoroughly at each area of your personal life. Ask God to show you where you still need to surrender the “fight for your rights” and then willingly submit yourself to Him, trusting Him to work out all things for your good.

Dig deeper:
If you have time to do this in the group – why not? Otherwise perhaps if you have time this week, you may wish to carry on studying God’s word around this subject.

 

Read through Psalm 37:1-20 slowly in small sections of 1 or 2 verses. Pause between each section to allow God’s word to penetrate your heart and to inspire you to pray as His Word speaks to you.

 

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