“Princess Bride” is a family favorite. Any time I have to tell the kids to “Stop fighting…I mean it!” You can be sure one of them will say, “Anyone want a peanut?” (Those of you who have seen this movie are laughing right now. Those who have not, are lost and wondering what’s wrong with me! You need to see it.)
It would be too painful to “Princess Bride” aficionados for me to re-cap a scene from this movie, so suffice it to say that Fezzik (Andrea the Giant) is
a massive man! His bone crushing strength could fold me in half in an origami minute. And yet, this 7′ 4″, 500 pound man was the picture of gentleness!
“Dad, I don’t want to appear weak!” This was something that one of my kids said to me recently. Showing weakness as a kid can get you into big trouble with your peers. For that matter, showing weakness as an adult doesn’t do you any favors either. Promotions can be lost to weakness and timidity. Deals can go sour from a loss of nerve. This reality motivates us to put on a strong facade and plow through our competition and often, through our close friends and family. This fear of appearing weak drives us to pack on the muscle or to win the argument at all costs.
So what does it mean to be weak? How do you know if you are strong? Intellectually, most people would agree that physical or mental strength is not the only or even the best measure of true strength. And yet, emotionally, most of us strive to achieve these temporal measures to ensure our place of importance or prominence. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater: remember these words?
- “Be strong and courageous” – Joshua 1:6,7,9,18. Don’t dismiss these verses as just a reference to spiritual strength. God was preparing Joshua to take Israel into physical battle and he would need plenty of physical ability to be successful.
- “He tore [the lion] as one tears a young goat though nothing was in his hand” – Judges 14:6. Who gave Samson his strength? Wheaties and free-weights? No, God gave him these skills and He expected Samson to use them – for Him!
- “For physical training is of some value,” – 1 Tim. 4:8 (NIV) Even Paul admits the benefit for physical strength. Just remember to finish the verse: “but godliness has value for all things…for both the present life and the life to come. “
If we are going to have this discussion about strength, we have to also talk about “turning the other cheek”. Jesus shocked his audiences with this “passive, do-nothing” approach and the world has mischaracterized it ever since. Jesus did not teach to a position of weakness. He taught from a position of strength. As Jesus hung on the cross, He did not do so because He was weak and unable to control the situation. He hung there as God-Almighty and refrained from calling 10,000 angels to His aid.
This is amazing! There must be a word to describe someone’s ability to have tremendous power and yet withholding this “right” for some higher purpose. Oh, ya! There is: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Most of us read “Meek” but think “Weak“. Just because they sound alike doesn’t mean they are alike. If we are demonstrating true Meekness, we are actually demonstrating Power that is Under Control.
- Instead of arguing with your spouse until it is clear that you have won, meekness is letting them have the final say.
- Rather than justifying your mistake to your boss, meekness is accepting the reprimand in spite of his ineptitude.
This is why we started with Andrea the Giant. When you see his character in the movie, you can see his physical strength and you know of what he is capable – and yet, you know he would never harm you but would always protect you. Wow, that is Meekness! That is what we are to be!
Open Mic: Share your thoughts.
- Who do you know that is truly meek?
- Have you ever witnessed someone who has amazing control over the power they could leverage against someone else?