(I am continuing to pull some thoughts from Matthew Henry’s The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.)
One of the things I enjoy about reading sixteenth-century Puritan works is the vocabulary they use. Consider this: “Exorbitant passion is a discord in the soul; it is like a tumor in the face which spoils the beauty of it: meekness scatters the tumor, binds down the swelling, and so prevents the deformity, and preserves the beauty.”
His point in this vivid metaphor is to show us how ugly (and uglifying) a bad temper can be even on a pretty face. Beauty is as beauty does is an old adage because it is true. A woman with a bad temper is an eyesore. Anger is one of those ugly pills, and it works its results inexorably over the face.
Not only does anger make the angry person unattractive, it also scatters destruction, causing collateral (emotional) damage on everyone in range. Have you ever had someone angry at you? You probably felt like you’d gotten a black eye afterwards. Anger can have disastrous results, alienating loved ones and casting an unhappy shadow over the home.
On the other hand, meekness keeps the soul peaceful and quiet, which Henry says “puts a charming loveliness and amiableness upon the soul, which renders it acceptable to all who know what true worth and beauty is.” Jesus told us that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like the simple lilies in the field. Meekness is like that. “All wise and good people will reckon those best dressed that put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and walk with him in the white of meekness and innocency.”
A woman who is facing many provocations in her day (hard to imagine, right?) and rides them out with meekness and quietness, is a glory to behold. She keeps her spirit in check, and she adopts a cheerful composure that keeps the atmosphere of the home peaceful and not turbulent. She is not complaining, blaming, snapping, cross, or snippy. Reacting to provocation in a fleshly way requires no training, no practice, no prayer. A quiet spirit absorbs the shock and doesn’t make a lot of loud fuss and bother. A fleshly response is always noisy, often emotional, and sets everyone on edge.
Meekness “is an ornament of God’s own making.” It’s no dime-store trinket. We can’t buy it. There’s no price tag on it, though think what some might pay for it! In Christ we are free to put it on like a beautiful jewel, and we glorify the Giver when we wear it. It is a credit to Him, and He is pleased to see us “bejeweled” with His gift to us.
“For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).