Tuesday
Jun022009

Born To Be Mild

Mild.

A positive term when applied to weather or the side-effects of your prescription medicine. 

Somewhat negative, however, when used to describe someone’s personality. Mildness often has the connotation of dull and boring. Mildness is seldom romantic, thrilling or adventurous. It’s just, well, mild.

In the Old Testament, Esau is the romantic, the thriller, the adventurer. “Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field” – a man’s man (Genesis 25:27, NKJV). He was his father’s favorite, a man who looked rugged and even smelled of the outdoors.

“Jacob,” his brother, “was a mild man” – the original mama’s boy, Rebekah’s favorite and a stranger to the wild. Jacob was born, born to be mild.

Mildness is a temperament, a broad assessment of a person’s character and personality. “Gentle and not easily provoked” is the dictionary definition. Hardly characteristics that make for a Hollywood blockbuster or even the cover of some trashy, romance novel. Mildness, however, is just the characterisitic desired by God who chose Jacob, the second-born, over his brother Esau to participate in the scheme of redemption at its earliest stages.

Mildness is synonymous also with meekness, another trait judged to be unmanly and undesirable to modern minds. To many, meekness is another word for weakness, but the two most forceful characters in all the Bible were preeminently meek and hardly weak. 

“Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Jesus described himself as “gentle and lowly in heart” while offering to share every sinner’s burden (Matthew 11:29). Stronger men the world has never known, yet mildness was no barrier to their power – mildness defined it (see Second Corinthians 10:1).

Our world has forgotten to value the mild – gentleness, caution, kindness, humility. When everyone – man and woman – insists on preeminence and attention, what can follow but rivalry, greed and conflict (see James 4:1-4)? Mildness begs the other person to go ahead first and is content without being the center of attention or the object of envy (see Matthew 20:20-28). Mildness has no thirst for blood, no appetite for destruction (see First Thessalonians 2:7). “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5; cf. Psalm 37:11).

Mildness proves the wisdom from above – “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits” (James 3:17). One can never climb so high unless he becomes born again, born to be mild.