... these Beatitudes as they proceed become increasingly difficult ... what we are now considering is more searching, more difficult, more humbling and even more humiliating.... The first Beatitude asks us to realize our own weakness and our own inability... it makes us feel we have nothing— But here, I say, is something which is still more searching—’Blessed are the meek.’
Now why is this? Because here we are reaching a point at which we begin to be concerned about other people. Let me put it like this, I can see my own utter nothingness and helplessness face to face with the demands of the gospel and the law of God. I am aware, when I am honest with myself, of the sin and the evil that are within me, and that drag me down. And I am ready to face both these things. But how much more difficult it is to allow other people to say things like that about me! I instinctively resent it. We all of us prefer to condemn ourselves than to allow somebody else to condemn us. I say of myself that I am a sinner, but instinctively I do not like anybody else to say that I am a sinner.... So far, I myself have been looking at myself. Now, other people are looking at me, and I am in a relationship to them, and they are doing certain things to me. How do I react to that? That is the matter which is dealt with at this point. I think you will agree that this is more humbling and more humiliating than everything that has gone before. It is to allow other people to put the searchlight upon me instead of my doing it myself.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, pp. 64–5, by Martin Lloyd Jones