Chapter 3 "Blessed Are the Meek"
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Meek, in this day and age, is regarded as weak. Yet Jesus told us, “Blessed are the meek”! We husbands deal with our wives in basically two ways, either apathetically or using the “tough love” approach. In this chapter, we will search God’s Word to find out the Truth regarding tough love.
Love is . . . God gives us a description of love. See if you can find the word “tough” or any word even remotely similar. “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails . . .” (1 Cor. 13:4–8).
I command you. Another very popular statement in the church today is love is a choice. Read with me the following verse to see if God says we can “choose” to love. Or does God command that we do so, as followers of Christ? “This I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17).
Do good, bless. Sometimes when our wives act in an inappropriate way, especially if they push or manipulate us, we put them in their place. This is not the time to show them love, or is it? “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27–28). The Lord gave us three choices when dealing with those we would rather be tough with: do good unto them, bless them, or pray for them.
Love your enemies. In this passage, God is even clearer. He actually admonishes those who only love the lovable. “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . . for if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?” (Matt. 5:44–46).
Overcome evil with good. In the book Love Must Be Tough, the author tells us to cause a crisis (in other words, to take matters into our own hands). However, the Scriptures tell us that we are to leave room for His wrath. “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer. Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:12, 14, 17, 19, 21).
You are to be perfect. Some authors, and even some pastors, have told us that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but what did Jesus say? “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
Kept entrusting Himself. When you feel like lashing back at your wife and you don’t, it is very frustrating. Read God’s explanation: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps . . . and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him (God) who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:21–23).
They shall inherit the earth. Maybe you’re afraid that if you don’t take matters into your own hands and take a “tough stand,” others (even Christians) will tell you that you are a “wimp.” Let me remind you who Jesus said are blessed. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
Does not achieve. You may recall that Jesus turned over the tables in the temple. Don’t use the excuse that therefore you have the “right” to be angry with others. God says He is a jealous God; can we then also be jealous? “But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20).
You may not do the things that you please. When we impulsively do or say something to our wives that is anything but meek and loving, we are walking in the flesh and are not walking in the Spirit. “But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:16, 17, 22–23). The old saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is based on Luke 6:31. “And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.”
It’s the kindness of God. Satan tries to deceive us into believing that confronting, and being unkind and firm, will turn the other person around. If that worked, why would God use kindness to draw us to repentance? Sinners do not go down to the altar to accept the Lord because they think that they are going to be criticized or chastised, do they? “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).
No one will see the Lord. Another extremely important reason to be gentle toward your wife and others is that we are to let others see Christ in us. “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
Ministry of reconciliation. We are to be ambassadors for Christ in reconciliation. “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:18–20). Speaking kindly and lovingly to our wives is the only way to work toward restoration and happiness!
You who are spiritual. This Scripture is the measuring stick for our spirituality. Can you restore your wife in a spirit of gentleness? “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:1–2). This Scripture warns us to be gentle to others when they have sinned against us or we will be tempted in the same trespass.
Doers of the Word. It’s important that we learn the Truth and agree with what we see in Scripture, but we must not stop there. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. . . . Not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22,25). “Therefore, to him who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Carried away by error. God has warned us that we should not listen to or follow men who tell us something contrary to Scripture. “Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him . . . in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of Scripture, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:14–18).
Many men do not forgive their wives because they don’t fully understand the grave consequences of their lack of forgiveness. Let’s search the Scriptures to see what God says about forgiving others.
The question we may ask is why should we forgive?
Because God forgave us. “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).
Because Jesus shed His blood. Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins. “All things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28).
Comfort her, to relieve the offender’s sorrow. “. . . You should rather forgive and comfort him, lest somehow such a one be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love forhim” (2 Cor. 2:7–8). This may go against our grain, since many of us may have a history of attacking and trying to find fault with our wives.
Are we ignorant of Satan’s schemes? “For if indeed what I have forgiven . . . I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:10–11). Don’t allow Satan to take advantage of either one of you by not forgiving your wife.
Forgive her from your heart. God said that He won’t forgive you if you don’t forgive others. “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:14–15). “So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you do not forgive his brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:35). (Read all of Matthew 18: 22–35.)
But shouldn’t the offender be sorry before I forgive?
Father, forgive them. Those who crucified Jesus neither asked forgiveness nor expressed sorrow for what they were doing or what they had done. As Christians, we are followers of Christ; therefore, we are to follow in His example. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, KJV).When Stephen was being stoned he cried out just before he died, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60).
But how often does God expect us to forgive another?
Seventy times seven. When Peter asked how often he was to forgive his brother, Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:22).We are to forgive others over and over without end.
Inherit a blessing. Here is a spiritual inheritance God has called us to. “Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9). Those who have ears, let them hear this call.
Forget it. Does forgiveness really mean that I forget that sin, even during an argument? “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34). “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). Do you bring up things from the past? Don’t allow Satan to use you to condemn your wife or others who have received forgiveness by bringing up things from their past. But, you say, your wife does it all the time. Then you need to take the lead in this area also, by being a good example and her protector.
How can I really forgive as God has asked me to do in His Word?
Who can forgive sins? Only God can help you to forgive. You must humble yourself and ask Him to give you the grace. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7). Even Jesus said it on the cross, and Steven while being stoned, “Father, forgive them . . .” Neither man said, “I forgive you.”
Grace to the humble. How do I get the grace I need? “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Pet. 5:5–6).
Humbled. How can I gain humility?“Because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses” (Ps. 107:11–13). “I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer kept returning to my bosom” (Ps. 35:13). We can work, fast, and pray to obtain humility. Sometimes the Lord may even use an illness to quiet and humble us.
When do I need to forgive those who have hurt me? Shouldn’t I feel convicted first and then do it?
First be reconciled. “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matt. 5:23–24). If you have not forgiven another, especially your wife, you need to ask for her forgiveness.
Bitterness. Not forgiving someone causes bitterness. The definition of bitterness is “poison”! “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger . . . be put away from you” (Eph 4:31). Not forgiving another eats away at you, not the other person. “The heart knows its own bitterness” (Prov. 14:10). “For He knows the secrets of the heart” (Ps. 44:21).
A Good Conscience
How important is it to have a good conscience? John F. MacArthur, Jr., has written a book entitled, The Vanishing Conscience. In it, he deals with such topics as “misbehavior being treated as a medical problem” and “living in a guilt-free world.”
A good conscience:
Stems from a pure heart.“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5).
Has been cleansed by the blood of Christ. “How much more will the blood of Christ . . . cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14).
Must be prayed for. “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things” (Heb. 13:18).
Will keep others from slandering you and will inevitably reflect Christ in you. “. . . And keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Pet. 3:16).
Suffer shipwreck. Without a good conscience, you will shipwreck your faith. “Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith” (1 Tim. 1:19). Therefore, we must appeal to God for a good conscience. “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .” (1 Pet. 3:21).
Let’s begin by praying the following prayer: “Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge” (Ps. 51:4). After you have gained a pure conscience from God, you may need to continue the process by reconciling with your wife or others whom you have offended in the past; follow Matthew 5:23–24, which we read: “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
A brother offended. When you go to reconcile with your wife, or another, be sure that you follow scriptural guidelines. You may have heard someone say that things were actually worse when they did ask for forgiveness or that it did no good. If you ask for another’s forgiveness, but state it the wrong way, it may offend them and make things worse. “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city” (Prov. 18:19).
Prepare every word. Every word you say must be carefully chosen. “Every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). Try writing down what you are going to say. Then read out loud what you wrote, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and hearing it from their point of view. Does it sound accusing? Ask God to put the right words in your mouth.
I have sinned. The prodigal son prepared his words when he decided to return home: “I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men'” (Luke 15:18–19).PraiseGod—He does raise up those who are bowed down!
With many words. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable” (Prov. 10:19). “A babbling fool will be thrown down” (Prov. 10:10). Only say what you did; don’t set the stage with something like, “When you did this, and such and such, well, then I . . .”
Agree, agree, agree!“Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him . . .” (Matt. 5:25, KJV). If the other person starts to lash out at you, do not open your mouth except to agree. “And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering He uttered no threats . . .” (1 Pet. 2:23).
Be sweet! Make your words sweet and kind. “Sweetness of speech adds persuasiveness” (Prov.16:21). “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:24).
Revealing his own mind. Some men who have been guilty of infidelity in their past get right with God and then go to their wives for the purpose of unloading their own guilty feelings, not understanding that their wives will endure tremendous pain following their confession. Don’t use repentance as an excuse to dump your guilt onto her. “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Prov. 18:2). Confess your sin to another Christian man and make yourself accountable to him. If you are quite sure your wife already knows, suspects, or has confronted you about this sin, by all means, confess. Just be discreet and leave the details out. Then be prepared to reap what you have sown by comforting her and holding her up in her pain.
Practice These Things
“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith apply virtue, and to your virtue apply knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful. . . . For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. . . For as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble” (2 Pet. 1:4–10).
Apply All Diligence
“He who diligently seeks good, seeks favor” (Prov. 11:27).
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1–3).
In Your Faith
“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13).
“In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16).
“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
“Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue . . .” (2 Pet. 1:3).
“Take my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choicest gold” (Prov. 8:10).
“A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge increases power. For by wise guidance you will wage war and in the abundance of counselors there is victory” (Prov. 24:5–6).
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32).
“I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle, while the wicked are in my presence” (Ps. 31:1). “He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you” (Prov. 9:7–9).
“Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit” (Prov. 25:28).
“Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:3).
“And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Matt. 10:22).
“But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of suffering” (Heb. 10:32).
“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the contrary, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also life to come” (1 Tim. 4:7–8).
“But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:11).
“Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12).
And in Godliness, Brotherly Kindness
“To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit” (1 Pet. 3:8).
“And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:12–14).
And Finally, Love
“Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).
“Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you love one another” (John 13:34).
“So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself . . .” (Eph. 5:28).
“Nevertheless, let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself . . .” (Eph. 5:33).
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the Truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4–7).
“Love never fails . . .” (1 Cor. 13:8).
Yes, my brothers, love never fails!
Personal commitment: To desire and strive to be meek.“Based on what I have learned in Scripture, I commit to being quick to hear and slow to speak, to forgive those who have offended me, and to do what I can to reconcile with those I have offended.”