“Glances of true beauty can be seen in the faces of those who live in true meekness.”
Henry David Thoreau
Lately I’ve been spending time reading and studying the Beatitudes, and as a result I’ve been contemplating the character quality of meekness. Of all the traits described in the Beatitudes, I find meekness the most difficult to view in a positive light, largely because what first comes to mind when I think of meekness is a bland, colorless, Elsie Dinsmore type individual or a person who sits passively by and watches while injustice takes place.
Of course, from a Scriptural perspective I knew these weren’t examples of true meekness, so I set myself to disengage with the cultural views of the matter and connect with God’s views, immersing myself in verses about how God esteems and blesses meekness…and what it truly looks like.
And because I often think of things in terms of story, I began to consider the general lack of meek characters cast in heroic roles in fantasy. Not many came to mind, but the ones that did leapt from the pages of Lord of the Rings. There we have Samwise Gamgee, a hobbit who served in humility, never pushing himself to the forefront, never demanding praise or attention, and always ready to others first–yet bold and courageous when defending those he loved. Without him, the whole of Middle Earth would have fallen under Sauron’s sway.
Then we have Aragorn, who displayed a different sort of meekness, in that he served in obscurity for many years, never demanding or expecting credit for his actions. Even when the opportunity came for him to take up his rightful mantle as king, he acted in deference, refusing to lord it over the people he would rule. He wielded great power and authority in a humble and unassuming way–and it’s one of the things that made his character so compelling.
Though meek characters don’t abound in fiction, stories gain depth when they include individuals displaying true, Biblical meekness. Such characters are beautiful in literature, and even more beautiful in life, and they provide reminders of the worth of cultivating meekness in our own hearts, a quality that God greatly esteems.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on meekness in life, literature, or both!