Difference Between Meekness and Humility

Key Difference – Meekness vs Humility
 

Meekness and humility are two contrasting human qualities between which a key difference can be identified. In certain religious discourses such as in Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism these qualities are addressed. In a general sense, meekness refers to the quality of being quiet, gentle, righteous, and obedient. On the other hand, humility refers to the quality of being humble. The key difference between meekness and humility stem from the attitudes that the individual displays towards one’s self and towards others. Meekness is a quality that a person displays towards others, but humility is something that one displays to one’s self.

What is Meekness?

Meekness can be understood as being quiet, gentle, righteous, and obedient. Imagine a person who is very obedient. This person would display qualities such as listening to others and acting according to their demands. Such a person can be considered as meek because he or she is controlled to some extent by the behavior of others. This lays a certain restriction on how the person acts based on other people.

In religious contexts, a meek person is described as someone who does not fight back and accepts or swallows any form of suffering. Such a person would also be patient and ready to accept the authority of another without any opposition. There is another argument in Christianity that a person becomes meek when he puts away his natural desires.

Difference Between Meekness and Humility

What is Humility?

Humility can be defined as the quality of being humble, or in other words, having a low opinion of one’s importance. The term has its roots in the Latin word ‘humilitas’, meaning humble or from the earth. In Greek mythology, Aidos was the goddess of humility. Humility is to understand one’s self-worth but also to be aware of one’s faults.

The key difference between meekness and humility is that unlike in meekness where the restraints come from others, in humility it comes from the individual himself.  However, it must be highlighted that humility is not to degrade one’s self-importance but to acknowledge that a person has his flaws. In other words, it restrains a person from being vain of his accomplishments.

In religious contexts, humility is seen as a virtue. For instance, in Judaism, humility is considered as a virtue in which people appreciate their skills and talents. In Christianity, humility is viewed as the opposite of pride. Further, it explains that God favors those who are humble. In Buddhism, humility is a spiritual practice.

Key Difference - Meekness vs Humility

What is the difference between Meekness and Humility?

Definitions of Meekness and Humility:

Meekness: Meekness refers to the quality of being quiet, gentle, righteous, and obedient.

Humility: Humility refers to the quality of being humble.

Characteristics of Meekness and Humility:

Quality:

Meekness: Meekness is a quality that a person displays towards others.

Humility: Humility is a quality that one displays to one’s self.

Restraints:

Meekness: In meekness, the restraints come from others.

Humility: In humility, the restraints come from one’s self.

Adjective:

Meekness: Meek is the adjective.

Humility: Humble is the adjective.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. Design for a Painted Ceiling- Triumph of Meekness and Strength – Google Art Project By Francesco Manno [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Rochdale Unitarian Church Humility By Phillip Medhurst – Own work, [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons