In his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers this as a difference between self-pity and meekness: “Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others… The man who is truly meek never pities himself, he is never sorry for himself. He never talks to himself and says, ‘You are having a hard time, how unkind these people are not to understand you’” (68-69).
CS Lewis writes in his chapter “The Great Sin,” that the first step toward acquiring humility is “to realize that one is proud.” Following his pattern, I would have to say that the first step toward meekness is realizing that one is immoderate. … Zeal is a good example. In itself, its “eager and ardent interest” in pursuing some religion or cause or nationalism is a virtue. But an “excess of zeal” becomes zealotry. … Extremes of attitude in any of the many areas of our lives can foster the righteous inflexibility that drives out the gentleness and mildness of meekness… To yield to the Saviour means that we consciously and deliberately abandon self with all of its immoderate and willful attitudes. We stand back from any personal agenda and let the Lord shepherd us. When that happens, the wonderful earth we inherit is one of faith and love and service and peace. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Power of Yielding, “The Strength of Meekness”)
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