“Blessed are the debonair for they shall inherit the earth.” When the French translated the third beatitude that is how they rendered, “Blessed are the meek.”
“Debonair” in English means pleasant manners, courteous and gracious. Derived from Old French it means “of good disposition.” The understanding of “meek” remains vital to living out “meek.” What does it really mean? The dictionary defines meek as “humble, patient, or submissive” also as “overly patient; spiritless; tame.” That’s a bit on the wimpy side for my tastes.
I much prefer many preachers’ definition of “meek” as “power under control.” Moses fits that description—a solid leader, a man who went before kings, a family man. Moses had his faults, but he was viewed as a “very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Jesus described himself as “meek,” and he lived a perfect life, so I don’t see the word meaning “spiritless” in any way.
For today’s Christian, one of the characteristics of a “meek” person means that they remain teachable. When instructed they readily listen to learn. The arrogant, when corrected, might reply with a flippant answer of “Whatever.” Besides not being courteous, that answer reveals an unwillingness to learn, whether it be performing a task or changing a behavior.
My friend Jan Tickner prays for self-reliant people to “come to the end of themselves.” That prayer opens the door to a university of “higher” learning, where a person recognizes his or her own faults. The, that prayer becomes a launching pad to learn better living habits from others and from the Lord.
Jesus defined “meek” when he said about himself, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He then said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus invites those who have tired of trying to make it on their own to team up with him, and he is never too proud to step alongside the most unworthy person on earth. He only needs an invitation.
Imagine yourself in a harness alone and you’re struggling to pull all your burdens against the grade of a hill. Now imagine Jesus slipping the leather straps of the same harness over his shoulders and pulling with you. Shoulder to shoulder, Jesus and you, in sync. Together, you make progress, and you have an all wisdom and compassionate person pulling with you. Now that’s power under control.
The word “debonair” and Jesus seem not to belong in the same sentence. However, when we consider that the word defines the Teacher who will come alongside and help all of us come to the end of ourselves, then Jesus is debonair.
Hunger for Humility (Week 44): "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20 NLT)
Cathy Messecar welcomes comments at www.cathymessecar.com