Wednesday, April 13, 2016
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
It’s not hard for me to write about the things in which I believe, for which I live and know to be true. What is hard is to write about them knowing I will lose readers that I really care about and always look forward to their “likes,” comments, and encouragement. Still, not to write about what I believe would not be right, and it would be cowardly of me to water down my own beliefs. If I am true to the Christ I follow, I must make my case for Him boldly and without apology. My oldest son who lives in New York City is not a believer but an atheist. He does believe that we should do good and care about others, and of the blog on the Good Samaritan, my atheist son wrote to me, “ . . . that blog about the good Samaritan was bad ass and made me proud.” That works for me and helped me get past feeling bad about losing readers. And, of course, this leads me directly to Earnest Hemingway and his code. The so-called “Hemingway Code” was never referred to as such by Hemingway himself. It sort of boils down to his heroes displaying what was known as “grace under pressure” and that phrase came to be known as the Hemingway Code. You wouldn’t ordinarily associate Papa Hemingway with “meek” but by the most accurate definition, that’s exactly what we should do. Another way to define “meek” would be “the ability to withstand persecution without resentment.” Interestingly, that is exactly what Hemingway's heroes did, and it is almost word for word, the oldest (and most accurate) definition of the word “meek.” Today’s society thinks of “meek” as a pejorative, a bad thing, synonymous with weak, wimp, limp, cowardly, or worse. Yet in the Old Testament it is said that Moses was meek above all men. When Jesus used the word “meek” He did not mean weak or spineless, rather He meant having the kind of strength to be hit and not hit back, to be hurt and not to want to hurt, to be able to repay evil with good and love. It is these people that He refers to in The Beatitudes as those who will inherit the earth. Christ called these people “blessed” because although their own society thought of them as not normal since they would not seek revenge nor retaliate in kind when hurt. It takes real power to refuse to sink to the level of the evil ones of this world when it is so easy to strike back, to hurt, to become evil. Nicholo Machiavelli in his book, “The Prince” wrote that, “Once you have adopted the tactics of your enemy—he has won.” Christ calls us to rise above the baser animal instincts inside us to hit back and to not only withstand persecution but to do it without resentment. I am not completely there yet like Paul, but I am working on it. Karen says of me that when I don’t return evil for evil, I am putting those people on a heavenly “hit list” and God will get them for me. It does seem to happen that bad things eventually happen to those who have hurt me, but if you’re a bad person, bad things will follow you and I have never wanted or asked God to hurt anyone. Me, I want to be meek, as Christ was meek. I’m not sure I want to inherit the earth since we have messed it up pretty badly, but I do want to be the kind of person of whom Christ, my wife, and my sons would be proud. That would be enough for me. And you can take that to the bank.