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Blessed Are The Milk-Toasts

I read about a guy (whether fictitious or actual I'm not sure) who claimed he was writing a book called Cower Power. He also claimed he founded a group of people called DOORMATS which was short for "Dependent Organization Of Really Meek And Timid Souls — if there are no objections." Their motto supposedly was: "The meek shall inherit the earth — if that's okay with everybody." Funny if not for the fact millions equate these ideas with Jesus' words in Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." This and other "beatitude? (Matthew 5:3-12) describe the essential character of subjects and citizens of the messianic kingdom Jesus came to establish on earth, that is the church (Matthew 16:18). The world and even some in the church misconstrue what the Lord says in this beatitude. Millions (mis)understand "meek" to mean weak and wimpy and, as noted above, "doormats" on whom the world's strong and self-assured people walk. The idea is akin to the familiar term "milk-toast" (or "milquetoast"), defined at wiki.answers.com as "a timid, meek, or unassertive person," supposedly based on a comic strip character, Casper Milquetoast, who exhibited those characteristics. A "milk-toast" person is easily dominated, extremely mild, namby-pamby, wishy-washy. The term is slang for someone who is spineless and will not stand up for himself or herself or anyone or anything.

Space here will rapidly run out, so let me go ahead and get this off my chest. Those who advocate the idea that meek means weak and milk-toast are way, way off the mark. Jesus described Himself as "meek" (Matthew 11:28-20) and the apostle Paul speaks of the "meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:1). But those who equate the meekness and gentleness of Christ or His true followers with the half-baked ideas mentioned above couldn't be more mistaken. The Christ we read about in the Bible was bold and courageous and upset a lot of apple carts. He attacked injustice, immorality, irreverence, hypocrisy, prejudice, pride, and perverted priorities in society at large and in religion. He was vocal and active and made enemies of highly-positioned people who used their power to finally kill Him. Dorothy Sayers writes provocative words we ought to consider before we buy into the world's "meek means milk-toast and weak" malarkey — "The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore — on the contrary, they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left to later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him 'meek and mild' and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies. Those who knew Him, however . . . objected to Him as a dangerous firebrand" (quoted in Dorothy Sayers: A Careless Rage For Life by David Coones). Jesus was meek, but the way He lived and died proved He was anything but weak. To follow this meek but mighty Savior requires faith and courage. Get real — a milk-toast, namby-pamby, wishy-washy, weak Savior who promises to bless milk-toast, namby-pamby wishy-washy, weak followers? No Sir, no way. Not when Jesus said it, at no time since, not now, not in a million years! Try being meek if you think it means weak.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ