Showing strength and grace in meekness

A father recently asked me what he should do if someone wronged him illegally and the police and courts did, or could do, nothing. He was struggling to grasp the idea that Christians should not take the law into their own hands by seeking retribution for such wrongs. Allowing an injustice without retribution was “weakness” in his mind.

Thomas Watson shows that real meekness is not weakness but demands “an Herculean work”

First, meekness consists in the bearing of injuries. I may say of this grace, ‘it is not easily provoked’. A meek spirit, like wet tinder, will not easily take fire…

The second branch of meekness is in forgiving of injuries. ‘And when ye stand praying, forgive’ (Mark 11:25); as if Christ had said, It is to little purpose to pray, unless you forgive. A meek spirit is a forgiving spirit. This is an Herculean work. Nothing more crosses the stream of corrupt nature. Men forget kindnesses, but remember injuries…

The third branch of meekness is in recompensing good for evil. This is an higher degree than the other. ‘Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you’ (Matthew 5: 44). ‘If thine enemy hunger, feed him’ (Romans 12: 20)…To render evil for evil is brutish: to render evil for good is devilish; to render good for evil is Christian. …Take a crab [apple], engraft it into a pippin, it brings forth the same fruit as the pippin. So he who was once of a sour crabby disposition, given to revenge, when he once partakes of the sap of the heavenly olive, he bears generous fruits. He is full of love to his enemies. Grace allays the passion and melts the heart into compassion. As the sun draws up many thick noxious vapours from the earth and sea, and returns them in sweet showers, so a gracious heart returns all the unkindness and discourtesies of his enemies with the sweet influences and distillations of love.

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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