Meekness and HMS Titanic

Lest we worry overmuch that our meekness might be an open invitation for others to abuse us, it is well to note some of its less-understood features. For example, meekness may not always “win”, especially in worldly matters or in the short run; but in the long run the meek will inherit the earth. And meekness is not the acceptance of imposition; it can still be firm, still insist on fairness, even reprove with sharpness on occasion. Meekness also can ask inspired, piercing questions. Meekness impels us to speak the truth in love. Meekness brings its own compensatory blessings, especially that of an enhanced direction from the Holy Spirit.

– Neal A. Maxwell, Men and Women of Christ (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1991), 59.

Meekness is not mere niceness. It is not being a doormat. Meekness does not ignore sin or error just to avoid causing offense.

Meekness cares above all about the truth. The meek worry little about themselves and their own comfort.

And so, the meek will often be hated and accused of intolerance, being “mean,” and so forth. The meek will rarely spend a lot of time defending themselves or their motives–it rarely occurs to them that they ought to, or that such a battle would be worth it.

Thus, the meek tend to appear bested in the worldly arenas and in matters about which their opponents hyperventilate.

One has only to think of Jesus, who was meek without being timid, declarative without being celebrated.

As one ponders attributes like meekness and humility, he cannot help but observe how much of our mortality is spent in rearranging the furniture of our relationships and in interminable organizational shufflings because of ego rather than for genuine improvement. How many new emphases and new thrusts are silly new extrusions of untamed ego? Or represent a drunkenness of conscientiousness?

– Neal A. Maxwell, Even As I Am (Deseret Book Co., 1982), 61.

Those opponents–and the rest of us who have not gotten very far with meekness–tend to favor the flashy, superficial reinvention or reorientation over substance. They are forever announcing a “new direction” or “new priorities,” when in fact the destination is the same as before–the barren coastline of their own ego and praise of the world. The superficial priorities may shift, but only in the service of the rock-bottom issue: whatever serves the natural man well.

Such busy innovators who labor over a revamped org-chart need not, even, produce much of anything. A few bromides and platitudes for what they plan or intend to do suffice. And, after awhile, there will be further furniture shuffling as the ego-ridden Titanic plows blissfully onward through icy waters, deck chairs neatly aligned.

The meek, unconcerned with anything but results for the blessing of others, have little patience for such things.  Why? Because such cosmetic shuffling focuses upon matters which they have learned are of little worth and moment. The meek understand ego as both a lie and a trap.

And, they have learned through painful experience how much harder–and less praised–is genuine truth-telling and legitimate, sustained improvement.

They can thus sympathize with the pursers on the Titanic (for who would rather not do that which is easy than that which is hard?) even as they disagree with them.