I think Christians often struggle with the word “meek.” Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek.” Paul says that the fruit of Spirit is 1/9th meekness flavoured. The word, in common English usage means “quiet, gentle, and submissive (Concise Oxford English Dictionary).” Christians certainly are to be those things in certain contexts. But, the issue of Christians learning meekness becomes particularly vexing when Jesus says, “Learn of me because (or that) I am meek and humble of heart (Matthew 11:29).” But Jesus is not usually very submissive to others, he’s not always quiet, and sometimes he is not particularly gentle.
But, a bit of research to the rescue, and BDAG (a lexicon of ancient Greek) defines the word which we translate meek below and then gives potential translations of the word:
Πραυτης – the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentleness, humility, courtesy, considerateness, meekness*
So I wonder if Jesus’ meekness and our own is closer to the idea of being unassuming and not self-impressed. The word doesn’t mean flippant or not taking oneself seriously. Jesus was deadly serious, “Learn of me…I will give you rest.” But he did not take personal insults with seriousness except insofar as they infringed upon the truth. He even noted, “Every sin against the Son of Man will be forgiven…” Jesus was willing to associate with anybody who was willing to hear the gospel. That was meekness. His considerateness was not limited to those he considered honorable enough. It was for all. This is how he was meek, yet simultaneously able to be very harsh. Meekness, for the Christian, appears to be the virtue of taking others seriously enough to give them time, tell them the truth, and make amendments to your life to improve their lives. It is, in that respect, one aspect of love. Meekness is not submitting to any and every unjust authority, accepting every insult that is injurious to good causes, and sitting back while evil is done against the weak.
* Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.