Hummus In Hand, Meek I Was Not

Paula Hendricks 04/03/13 | Twitter: @PaulaWrites678
Category: Myself ; 25 comments

Before I hit I-94 that morning, I read about how on the cross Jesus didn't think of Himself in order to free me from myself. I asked Him to help me live free of self that day, and then—in the smallest of tests in the Art Institute of Chicago—I failed.

security guardIt happened under Mark Chagall's America Windows—after a lunch of hummus and tabouli in the Garden Café. With leftovers in hand, I asked a security guard the way to the Picasso and Chicago exhibit.

He ignored my question and fiercely told me I was not allowed to have food in the Art Institute. "Oh, I didn't know," I said and repeated my question about the location of the Picasso Exhibit.

"I won't tell you until you throw your food away," he growled.

Muttering to myself, I dumped my food in the nearest trashcan and got the directions I needed.

I knew I shouldn't mention it to my mom and sisters—after all, I'd asked Jesus to help me live free of self—but I couldn't resist. The security guard had treated me with less respect than I felt I deserved, and my self wanted to flare up and kick back.

In that moment, I lost sight of the fact that Jesus was willing to be treated in a way He totally didn't deserve . . . in order to take God's wrath that I did deserve because of my sin . . . so I might receive what Jesus deserved—God's love, favor, and righteousness.

What's the big deal, you ask? Isn't it perfectly natural for someone to resist being treated disrespectfully? Sure, but Jesus didn't give me His Spirit so I could continue acting "naturally." One of the marks of Jesus' Spirit is meekness. It's also the third beatitude:

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5).

What does it mean to be meek? Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains it this way:

The man who is meek is not even sensitive about himself.

We think those who exert their power and defend their rights will rule the world. Jesus says just the opposite. Those who are meek (gentle) like He is will rule the world with Him in the end.

It's what we see the night Jesus was arrested. He knew what was coming, pleaded for a way out, but surrendered to His Father's will: "nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will" (Matt. 26:39). It's how we see Jesus responding to the insults flying at Him from all sides while He hung on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

But we're not Jesus. And meekness isn't just tough . . . it's impossible! Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains why we fight meekness:

I am aware, when I am honest with myself, of the sin and the evil that are within me, and that drag me down. And I am ready to face both of these things. But how much more difficult it is to allow other people to say things like that about me! I instinctively resent it. We all of us prefer to condemn ourselves than to allow somebody else to condemn us.

Meekness only becomes possible when we have Jesus' Spirit living inside of us. I will try to remember that the next time I find myself being talked to in a tone I find offensive.

How about you? Do you know this meek Jesus? Are you allowing Him to exhibit His gentleness through your life when you feel wronged, belittled, or underappreciated?

(Read about the next beatitude here.)  


HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate.

    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:01 am
    Sometimes when I am going through a trial or the person I am struggling with is just being plain rude and mean, I need to remember what Jesus did...He wasn't even a sinner and He was put through worse that I will probably ever go through. Thank you, Paula, for posting this...could you pleases pray that I will have a meeker spirit?
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 9:14 am
    wow. i had never thought about us being the same as Jesus when we get something we dont deserve! if we truly think about it, it is an honor! WOW.
    Not so sure
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 11:21 am
    Shouldn't we be able to stand up for ourselves and exert our rights? As long as we are loving God and still having a servant's heart toward people, I don't understand what is so bad about not being meek/submissive. I definetly think it is bad to let other people dictate what you do (although not in all cases). I know you have to learn when to "pick your battles" and just let somethings go, so maybe in this case, the security guard was an example of one of those times that it was better to let it go than assert yourself. As in, you could love God and serve people better by letting it go. However, I don't think we should strive to be especially meek. Humble, yes, but not meek or submissive. As a daughter of a single mother, I can say that if my mother had been meek instead of assertive in all cases, we would have, most importantly, all ended up in a dangerous place, in addition to a bunch of other things that all make a difference. Biblically, I think I have support on this idea. I have always read the beatitudes thinking that God was telling us that when we are low on spirit, when we are sad, when we can't defend ourselves, when we haven't found but are looking for righteousness, or when we are persecuted, God sees that and He tells us the ways that He will bring us out of it. The other beatitudes about being merciful, pure, and a peacemaker are definitely character qualities that we should strive for. But do you seriously think that we should strive to be persecuted, short on righteousness, meek and defenseless, sad, and low in spirit? Yes, we should be a Christ follower, regardless of the consequences, even if persecution is one of them. Yes, we should have a hunger and thirts for righteousness. Yes, we should put God and other people (in that order) first--being meek-- but not unnessarily search out the consequences of being meek. (I think we should be submissive (meek) towards God and the needs of others, but not let ourselves be run over by people.) Yes, we should love people and God, which would lead us to mourning because you don't mourn unless you have first loved. Yes, we should know that our poor spirit will not always have to stay that way and God will "renew a steadfast spirit" within you (Psalm 51:10). This is my take on this, but if I am wrong, I would greatly appreciate being told.
    Paula Hendricks
    To Jamie
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm
    Dear Jamie,

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. Humanly speaking, meekness seems like weakness.

    But in Isaiah 55:8, God clues us in on the fact that, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”

    You talk about the “consequences” of meekness, Jamie, but God talks about the meekness in terms of beauty and blessing:

    “Let your adorning [the thing you consider attractive and beautiful] be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle [meek] and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4).

    “The meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace” (Ps. 37:11).

    In Colossians 3:12 we’re told, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

    If you want to catch a glimpse of the beauty, safety, and peace of “meekness,” check out Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ program, “The Beauty of Meekness.” You can read or listen to programs here:

    I'd love to hear what you think!
    Paula Hendricks
    To Mattea
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm
    Absolutely! Praying for you as I pray the same thing for myself.
    Paula Hendricks
    To Kat
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm
    Your comment blessed me, Kat. Thanks!
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm
    Wow, this is so true! I struggle with meekness sometimes, this is a great reminder!!
    I'm 18 and going off to college next year but I've grown up in a three bedroom house with 5 brothers and sisters... homeschooling. Don't ask how... by the grace of God we are all still alive. My middle sister Allie, is such a great example of meekness to me. There being so many of us, you really have to push and shove to get anything you want. My other siblings and I are always getting what we need first while she, full of meekness, waits until we have our needs met. Thank God for my awesome Dad, he always makes sure she has what she needs, but if it wasn't for that she would joyfully go with out. I'm so thankful for my little sister and the great example she gives my family... this post really reminded me of her!
    What Kat said... wow!
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm
    I'm going along with what Kat said, I never thought of it that way!!! Thanks for that point of view!! :D
    Response to Jamie's question
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    Hey so I was a little confused about meekness at first too, but I think we confuse meekness with the way others perceive us and the way we perceive ourselves. For example, if people started to spread rumors about me, instead if thinking, "oh whoa is me and I'm not gonna do anything about this" I can have an attitude of grace and think "no worries, God is on my side and he'll have his vengeance on them soon enough." Plus, they might just be belittling you because they feel bad about themselves. hope this helps! not as good of an answer as i could give in real life!
    Wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove.
    Reply to Paula
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm
    Thanks Paula for your prayers!! I will keep you in my prayers as well!! :) xoxox
    The other Natalie
    Where do you draw the line?
    on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm
    So...I agree with you partially, as far as not getting irritated over little things, or even big things, and having a Christian spirit of graciousness, mercy, etc...

    But how far do you take that? Because if some evil person is trying to hurt me, I'm not just going to be "meek" and let them, and I'm definitely going to stand up for others whose rights are being trampled (like the unborn). That sort of thing doesn't seem wrong to me.

    Jesus laid down his life, but he also called the Pharisees "white-washed tombs" and a "brood of vipers".

    Where do you draw the line?
    Figuring some stuff out
    on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:30 am
    Thanks for that feedback! It was really helpful! So I have discovered that meekness doesn't have to mean weak. All my life, I've looked down upon being weak or submissive because I've had to be strong, put up a fight kind of thing. But, meek does not really include weakness in this sense. When I heard about meekness, I thought of those times that I've had to be strong and assertive (what I considered the opposite of meek). I didn't understand why anybody would want to try to be weak.

    I got really curious and started looking up Bible verses about what I thought was the opposite of meek. What I found was nothing about standing up for yourself, but an overwhelming amount of information about standing up for Christ. (Think Ephesians 6, armor of God) Isn't that awesome?! I mean, it's not about me anyway! So why was I even worried about standing up for myself? The whole point of being strong is to stand up for Christ. I tend to forget that.

    That 1 Peter 3:4 verse says a lot. God thinks a gentle, meek, and quiet spirit is beautiful. In addition, verse 5 says, "For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves." If you put your hope in God, you can be meek and gentle. This goes along with what Jeanette said. With God, there's no need to get all upset. I can have a "no worries, God's got this one" attitude.

    Also, 1 Peter 3:4 mentions gentle (meek) and quiet in the same sense. Maybe meekness has something to do with being quiet to let God shine through you... I don't know; that's just something I thought of. But if that's the case, what better way to stand up for Christ than to have a meek spirit and let God show through?! So that would mean it is not only possible but also necessary to let it be about God while being assertive and strong and fighting for what is right.

    I will for sure check out those programs about meekness! I am trying hard to understand this! :) Thank you so much!
    Paula Hendricks
    Dear The other Natalie,
    on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm
    Excellent question. Sorry to disappoint, but I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer. We need wisdom to know how to apply God's Word to each individual case. The good news is, if we really want to know His wisdom, God promises to give it generously to us! (James 1:5)

    I do think a lot of it comes down to our motives. Romans 12:19 says, "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.'" Do you want personal vengeance or are you trusting God with your reputation?

    For the record, when I write about meekness, I'm talking about someone offending you--not someone physically harming you. If it's a case of physical abuse, you need to get the authorities involved--God has given them to us for our protection.

    Hope that helps in some small way,

    Paula Hendricks
    To Jamie
    on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I can't begin to tell you how much your comment encouraged me today. Why? Because you didn't take our word for it--you searched God's Word for yourself! Way to go!

    I loved reading your insights, too. Keep digging deep for the treasure of His Word,

    Re: Thank you!
    on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    This couldn't come at a better time! YA couple days ago I felt insulted by my classmates and teacher who insulted my project I worked really hard on. It hurt and I was very angry. I am just do glad that I have Jesus to look to whenever something hurts and know he will take care of it. Praying that I may see people the way He does
    The other Natalie
    on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm
    Yes, that DOES make a lot more sense. It seems a lot of the principles in the Bible require the Holy Spirit to work in my life so I know how to apply them personally. And it's nice to have that Christian freedom within boundaries.

    Thanks for responding. :)
    oh. boy...
    on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm
    you know when this REALLY hits home? responding sweetly (not lashing back when you SOOOOO could!) or (harder still!!!!) not responding at ALL to arguments and/or saucy comments from younger brothers and sisters... :-P
    thanks for the story!
    on Monday, April 8, 2013 at 9:42 am
    I really like that story,I have a hard time being meek,I think I have a bad temper,but....thanks!!
    on Monday, April 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm
    I have always struggled to understand meekness and I think I just figured out what it is. I think meekness is an attitude of love and trust in God, instead of controlling everything, instead of thinking that I am fighting God's battles for Him. It's actually realizing that God can fight His own battles, and while I serve Him and strive to glorify Him, He will fight for me. I don't necessarily always have to be thought right all the time, even if I am right. This mindset automatically results in loving, gentle, respectful actions towards others. (Example: I got really made at someone when he insulted Christians and the Bible and political conservatives, but that wasn't meek. I should have been a good witness by being kind anyway and knowing that God will reach this person and change his mind at the right time, instead of trying to prove I was right.) Do you guys think that is what meekness is? I'm still kind of confused.
    Paula Hendricks
    To 789
    on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm
    I love it that you're trying to communicate meekness in your own words. What a great way to learn. I think you're onto it!
    My Lack of Meekness
    on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 1:29 am
    Honestly, when someone treats me unfairly, my first thought is "Which of my friends should I tell about this?" "Which of my friends can relate to this situation the most and make me feel even better about myself and fuel my fire of being treated unfairly?" The first question is pretty close to what actually goes through my head. Of course, the second question isn't what plays in my head word for word, but it's the general goal that I hope to achieve. To wallow in the way I have been treated unfairly even more and to have company in my wallowing. I have never thought about it this way before. Thank you for posting this, Paula.
    on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm
    Thank you so much for writing something on this topic!

    I have always been a little confused on the topic of meekness. In this world, there are many sinful things going and, as Christians, we obviously aren't participating in them. That part I've got clear.

    What confuses me though are the things neither black or white, for example politics. If we don't agree with a policy being made that doesn't have any bold letters declaring, SINFUL (ex. gun control) how should we act in meekness? How far will a meek attitude allow us to retaliate or resist and should we retaliate?

    Another question, with meekness, we shouldn't be sensitive to ourselves. However, should we be sensitive toward other people. If someone treats us unfairly, I know that in meekness, we shouldn't respond with an emulated attitude; but if someone is treating a family member, friend or even an acquaintance unfairly, does that change our reaction.
    Sarah, with the LYWB team
    on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm
    I appreciate your interest in "meekness". It is at times an elusive quality in my own mind, too. But the Bible teaches us that it is a quality that is well worth pursuing!

    One definition I have often heard for meekness is "strength under control". Meekness is the strength to handle a situation with the mind and character of Christ. For the situations you mentioned above, meekness would cause us to act like Christ in response to the grey areas and/or mistreatment of ourselves or others. Jesus didn't just stand by, but showed strength under control. Meekness causes us to rightly discern how others are affected, if the Word of God is violated in any way, if our witness to the watching world exhibits Christ, etc. Meekness would help us stand for those treated unfairly while showing the character of Christ.

    Meekness is a quality of the heart. This quote from a series on meekness with Nancy DeMoss (which you would find very interesting and helpful in speaking to your questions: is helpful in determining the heart attitude.

    "When I’m being mouthy, dogmatic, opinionated, narrow, critical, negative, when I’m being the opposite of meek in my life, I’m reflecting something other than the Spirit of Jesus. But when true meekness, the fruit of the Spirit ...when that becomes my spirit, then I’m reflecting to the world what Jesus is like."

    God bless you, Cheyanne.
    on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 8:36 am
    I am so thankful to God for bringing me to this page. I have been struggling with meekness and I wanted to do a study on Biblical meekness since last year but couldn't find any online helps to my satisfaction. The article as well as some of the comments and replies have ministered to me greatly, thank you. I do have a question and I hope you would help me understand: Like Jamie mentioned we need to stand up for Christ. What should our attitude be when we stand up for Christ? Of meekness? Yes, we definitely have to be meek through and through. But what about being filled with zeal and passion for the Lord and His great name? How do we balance these two? Can we burn with zeal and respond meekly at the same time? Won't these contradicting natures kinda destroy the psyche?
    Paula Hendricks
    on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:58 am
    Dear Kavitha,

    I have just the online help you're looking for! Nancy Leigh DeMoss is teaching on meekness right now. You can catch the first in the series here:

    What great questions! I like the way you're really thinking this through. Personally, I think it is absolutely possible to be zealous and passionate about something and to communicate that winsomely with others rather than getting up in their faces about it.

    It reminds me of Matthew 10:16 where Jesus says, “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." You would think those two are contradictory, but they're not.

    I encourage you to ask God to show you that balance and teach you how to be bold and meek at the same time, Kavitha.

    Hope that helps a tad,


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