My cat was an only child. Sam came into my life when I was nine years old. No collar, no known owner. My family adopted him, and he was our kitty for 18 years. Since he was the only pet in the house, you might think he was lonely. Not at all. I was there.
I could easily yank his chain. With a feather, string, flashlight, or laser, I could steal Sam’s attention and pull him into a chasing game. His green eyes grew intense, and he couldn’t resist. His gray paws usually claimed their target, and whatever I was holding found its way between his teeth. Satisfied with his victory, Sam then returned to whatever sunbathing or explorative activity he had been doing.
Is your chain easily yanked? Not into a cat-and-mouse game of feathers and strings, but into a battle of words and egos? My chain used to be too short, easily yanked. It can be hard to resist a good debate. But I discovered that instead of upholding the truth, I ended up arguing to prove I was right. We have a tendency to put up a fight when our “honor,” rights, or egos are on the line. Maybe that’s why Jesus included meekness in the Beatitudes.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 NKJV
I used to cringe when I remembered Jesus’ blessing on the meek. I resisted giving up a “good” fight. I didn’t understand that the meek don’t give up their power to “win” in order to be godly—they give up using their power to harm. Sometimes that involves saying nothing or returning an insult with calm words. Their chain isn’t easily “yanked by ego or temper into reacting with ungodliness.”1
With God’s help, we can resist being yanked into an ungodly reaction and gain the earth (Matt 5:5) or “the land.”2 The Jews’ longed-for promise of old was possessing the promised land. In the New Testament, such a reference can refer to great spiritual blessings.
Meekness keeps us in a right relationship with God. Since “the land” in the Old Testament often represented a relationship in good standing with God, we can reason that meekness reaps a right relationship with Him today, a longed-for inheritance that is worth the self-restraint. When we refuse to get angry and react in ungodliness, we honor the One who has the most patience, grace, and endurance. We please the Father’s heart, and we become more trustworthy in our relationships and God-given assignments. We get our joy and sense of self-worth not in triumphing over others in our words and agendas, but in belonging to the great King whose agenda is always love.
There was no hope for my cat, Sam. He couldn’t resist a yummy piece of string. But in our daily lives, the more we choose love over self, the more we will be able to resist a “yummy” debate or challenge. We will be able to put off … anger, wrath, malice (Colossians 3:8 NKJV) and put on tender mercies, kindness, humility (Col 3:12 NKJV).
Because God loves us, He will help us to know what to say or do in a tense situation, and He will fight on our behalf if need be. God’s love and help are our powerful allies when we choose meekness over ungodliness. Then our chain will be more “locked” into place, not yanked in a negative direction.
Copyright © 2018 by Katy Kauffman, Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2018), 290-292. Adapted for CBN.com. Used with permission.
1. Beebe Kauffman, A Whole Lot of Wonderful—Application of the New Testament for Today (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2018), 43.
2. Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ New Testament Commentary, quoted in Phil Linder, Power Bible CD, CD-ROM (Bronson, Mich.: Online Publishing, Inc., 2007), Matthew 5:5.