Obsequiousness isn’t meekness. Meekness isn’t obsequiousness.
The vices opposed to humility are,
- pride: by reason of defect, and
- a too great obsequiousness or abjection of oneself, which would be an excess of humility. This might easily be derogatory to a man’s office or holy character; or it might serve only to pamper pride in others, by unworthy flattery, which would occasion their sins of tyranny, arbitrariness, and arrogance.
The virtue of humility may not be practised in any external way which would occasion such vices or acts in others.
Source: New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia: Humility. Last accessed 21 March 17.
Meekness isn’t letting people walk all over you, as shown in another blog post (Meek in Greek).
Sometimes you have to be strong. Stand tall, defiant. Until we begin to rediscover what humility actually is, we’re going to be in for a lot of headaches. We’re called to be just, not necessarily nice.
Showing the words used for “meek” in Greek:
Original Word: πραΰς, πραεῖα, πραΰ
Definition: mild, gentle.
Cognate: 4239praýs (also listed as 4239a/praupathia in NAS dictionary) – meek
This difficult-to-translate root (pra-) means more than “meek.” Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.
[The English term “meek” often lacks this blend – i.e. of gentleness (reserve) and strength.]
Source: BibleHub; Strong’s, 4239
Original Word: πρᾷος, α, ον
Definition: mild, gentle, meek, kind.
Cognate: 4235 práos – meek, i.e. the necessary balance of exercising power and avoiding harshness. See 4236 (praotēs).
Source: BibleHub; Strong’s, 4235
Original Word: πρᾳότης, τητος, ἡ
Definition: mildness, gentleness, meekness, kindness.
4236 praótēs– properly, temperate, displaying the right blend of force and reserve (gentleness). 4236 /praótēs (“strength in gentleness”) avoids unnecessary harshness, yet without compromising or being too slow to use necessary force.
Source: BibleHub; Strong’s, 4236
What we think of as meek isn’t necessarily what Christ meant.
More to come.