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23rd August: The Marks of Peace (2) -- Meekness

The meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. Psalm 37:11 (NIV)

We continue our examination of the factors associated with peace in the Scriptures by looking at meekness. This is a word very closely linked with humility and, indeed, the two words are often used interchangeably in different translations. Perhaps meekness could be defined as the outward manifestation of an inner humility. If so, then it surely brings peace because it does not have an image to maintain.

In today's reading we see that Jesus, even though he was God himself, 'made himself of no reputation, and took the form of a servant' (v7 AV). When he entered Jerusalem as king he came 'gentle and riding on a donkey' (Mt 21:5), and because he is meek and lowly he can give us rest and peace (Mt 11:29).

By contrast how much peace we lose in our struggle to keep up our reputation as doctors. And the more experienced in the profession we get, the fiercer the struggle becomes. I have lost count of the number of postgraduate meetings and clinical presentations I have attended where different consultants have bitterly insulted each other -- not because vital matters of patient care are at stake, but because reputations have to be defended. In dealing with opposition we need to hear Paul's advice to Timothy that 'the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one... correcting his opponents with gentleness (or meekness)' (2 Tim 2:24-25). Does this not apply in clinical meetings as much as in defending the faith?

Another area in which meekness is essential to peace in the doctor's life is in the realm of counselling patients. If we think that we must have all the answers, we feel very threatened when confronted with a problem we cannot immediately solve. In pastoral ministry Paul teaches that those who are spiritual should restore others in a 'spirit of gentleness' (Gal 6:1). Likewise in our ministry of restoring sick bodies and minds it is well to have a humble approach. We are not infallible, and those who try to 'play God' often pay a high price in loss of peace.

Lord, grant me the peace
that comes from humble dependence on you,
so that the serenity of my life may bring peace
to those with whom I come in contact.

Further reading: Phil 2:5-11


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