Margaret Atwood on Meekness

The Adult Bible Study Guide kicks off its focus on meekness from the central sermon of Jesus: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5, NKJV). The lesson itself defines meekness as “enduring injury with patience and without resentment.” Throughout the week, it draws on stories of Moses and Jesus dealing with trying circumstances. Instances include when Moses is criticized by his sister Miriam or by the Isrealites; he responds with selflessness. Of course, Jesus is the perfect model for meekness. The ABSG states: 

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The OT basis of Jesus’s blessing is rooted in the psalms and elsewhere. It is that the meek, those who rely upon and are faithful to God and do not resort to overcoming evil with evil or violence with violence, shall inherit the land. IOW, the wicked may seem to be winning, but the meek rely upon God to set things right.

I don’t think that this speaks against seeking appropriate legal rectification for wrongs done in society. Society couldn’t function otherwise. Nor is it a call to simply be silent and sweep wrongs under the rug as if they never happened. Personal relationships also don’t thrive under such conditions. But in the context of an audience bent on revenge towards national occupiers, this was a call by Jesus to not fight fire with fire, or to live by the sword, as if that would right all wrongs and bring back control of their sovereignty and land.

We would all do well to listen…especially in the social and political climate in which we live today.


Meekness does not inherently infer a ‘lack of a voice’. I wonder what, if anything, SDA leadership has had to say, publicly about the Kennedy v. Bremerton School Dist. case. Spectrum addressed it last week in an article by Jason Hines, but I have seen nothing from the institutional church. It seems to me it would seem to be a good idea, since I have observed that ill-informed lay people believe the decision was a good thing that the SCOTUS supported prayer in schools.


In his list of “unreal gods” we manufacture in our mind’s eye, “meek and mild” is as dangerous as the “resident policeman” or as the “managing director”.

If the impression of a soft and sentimental Jesus has been made (supported, alas, all too often by sugary hymns and pretty religious pictures), the harm is not over when the adolescent rejects the soft and childish conception. There will probably linger at the back of his mind an idea that Christ and the Christian religion is soft and sentimental thing which has nothing to do with the workaday world.

He points out that Jesus was anything but soft as He exposed hypocricy and walked amidst a murderous crowd.

The concordance defines meek as humble and considerate.


Why does the Lesson and we resort to the mentality of “us” vs “them”. The lesson appears to focus much of “society” and “cultural” thoughts on meekness. It’s almost a subliminal message that we are trying to compare meekness/submission in the worldly sense and then trying to connect that a heavenly message. This is backwards… the meekness/submission is to God which gives us power over any worldly circumstance, not submission to others. So if we are to be placed in burning furnace, “there was another one in the fire standing next to me”. If even if we are consumed, we have Joy/Peace now in Christ, and what awaits us after death is more Joy/Peace. Therefore, don’t think this is “us” vs “them”, but instead it’s Jesus and I. AND if He’s with us, who can stand against us?


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