Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Meek --> (Gentle = Forgiving = Benevolent)

As I mentioned in my last post, "meek" is defined as "gentle, forgiving, benevolent" - with benevolent defined as "kindly generous". Initially, I saw these as three distinct aspects of meekness, but today it hit me that they simply are different ways to say the same thing.

I was participating in a discussion thread on Times & Seasons that was getting fairly polarized, particularly between a couple of commenters. I identified immediately with one of those commenters, and I was about to respond to something the other one said - something with which I disagreed. Suddenly, it hit me - right out of the blue:

I could be "gentle" in my response, by softening what I felt like saying; I could be "forgiving" in my response, by not taking his comments personally - which would lead me to be less harsh and more gentle in my response and softening what I felt like saying; I could be "benevolent" (kindly generous) in my response, by pausing before I responded and really thinking about if there was something of value in his comments - something I could compliment or from which I could learn - which would cause me to be less harsh and more gentle and soften what I felt like saying. Any one of these initial efforts would lead automatically to the other two - making my response, if I chose to pursue it in that manner, more gentle, forgiving and benevolent - making me more meek in my response.

What hit me tonight is that meekness is not an action; it is a way of seeing things - a viewpoint - a perspective - an outlook - an attitude. We don't act meekly; we are meek. Iow, actions don't bring meekness; meekness inspires actions.

So far, I have experienced spiritual poverty, mourning with those who mourn (and comforting those who stand in need of comfort) and meekness all as characteristics that "bring forth fruits meet for repentance" that changes how I act - NOT as the result of my actions.

I think we need to stop trying so hard to DO and focus instead on BECOMING. The "do" will happen as a direct result - only it will be His fruits rather than our works. Rather than asking, "What would Jesus do?", perhaps we should be asking, "Who has Jesus asked me to become?" Maybe learning that difference is what my resolution truly is about.


Cassie Rakes said...

Once again enjoyed your thoughts, I've been thinking about this lately w/o realizing it. It's funny how chilren and grandchildren act to make a mother/grandmother/father/grandfather happy yet all a partent want is for their posterity to BECOME better then themselves, not to just do things right here and there to please them.

Papa D said...

That's an interesting connection, Cassie. As I read your comment, something hit me for the first time in these words:

Lucifer's plan was all about "doing" ("I'll make sure they act perfectly." - meaning never doing anything wrong); Heavenly Father's plan was all about "becoming" ("I'll pay for their mistakes and sins so that they have the chance to become perfect." - meaning complete, whole and fully developed).

Lucifer's plan defined "glory" selfishly as "praise" ("Tell me forever how good I am."); Heavenly Father's plan defined glory selflessly as happiness for others ("I will glory - feel great joy - in how good you become.").

Anonymous said...

I would love it if the words of "I am a Child of God" would be changed from "teach me all that I must do," to "teach me all that I must BE." That would be more in line with what I believe is the ultimate teaching of the song.

Great post Ray

Papa D said...

Darrell, it's fascinating to see the evolution of Mormon emphasis within a "children's song" - from what I must "know" to "do" to "be". I was very happy to see some of the Primary songs moved into the Hymn Book, especially "I Am a Child of God" - since the message applies to all members, not just the children.

Mama D said...

Great insight. Thanks for sharing. I liked your comment about the difference in Lucifer's and HF's plans in terms of developing meekness.

Glad that our kids (and likely, me too) are giving you good practice at this month's resolution! LOL

Patty said...

I love the thought of meekness as a change of our viewpoint or perspective, and not just an action. After all, it's our thoughts that lead to changes in our actions, and if our thoughts are more meek (benevolent, kind) our actions are bound to follow the same path.
Thank you for your wonderful insight again. I've not had much time lately for checking on blogs, but this was well worth taking the time!!

Papa D said...

You're a slacker, Patty. Just because you are a Relief Society President . . . Can't blog all day? Sheesh! *grin*

I'm glad you were able to stop by. Seriously, I really respect your input.