Meekness and Righteousness
Preaching on the Beatitudes a few weeks ago, I noticed the fascinating apparent tension between the third ("blessed are the meek") and the fourth ("blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness"). In our world, I reflected, we often assume there are (a) meek, humble people who are open-minded and mellow, think anything goes, and don't really care whether or not what others are doing is righteous, and (b) people who hunger for righteousness, and consequently end up telling everyone what to do, judging people, and assuming that they are better than everyone else. But Jesus brings these two together in the Beatitudes, by saying that the favoured and blessed are those who are meek, and who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Rather than opposite ends of a spectrum, they are two different ways of describing the same person.
And then I realised that the discussions in our generation about sexuality risk being polarised in the same way. Meekness = accepting everything people do, whether sinful or not. Righteousness = condemning sinful people and everything they do, whether lovingly or not. So I spoke to our church for a few minutes about this, using a prominent recent example as a way of anchoring things in practice. If you have four minutes, the relevant section is between 19:45 and 23:45.
The Upside-Down Kingdom from Kings Church on Vimeo.