““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
(Matthew 5:3–12 ESV)
If we were to read these as they are written, we would want to whack anybody who said “God bless you”… because it appears that in the kingdom of God blessing usually comes through suffering.
We might as well say, “May God cause you to suffer”.
Instead of “have a nice day”…we might say “may your co-workers mock you and lie about you because you’re a Christian today”.
That should elicit rejoicing from the recipient of the blessing given.
That’s what the passage says.
In reality, when faced with that kind of suffering we make a prayer request that it would stop.
We run from suffering…I run from suffering…the Bible says we’re to embrace and sanctify suffering.
It says God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
It takes all my strength to be that weak.
When we suffer we assume that we have lost the favor of God…when we may be basking in it, albeit uncomfortably.
Love , (as modeled by Jesus) is often sacrificial and sacrificial requires some amount of suffering or it isn’t a sacrifice.
To be able to forgive “7×70” requires you to maintain relationship with someone after they have clobbered you more times than you can count and been forgiven every time they have done so.
The world will tell you to do so is psychologically unhealthy…Jesus says not to do so is evidence of spiritual sickness.
No, I’m not advocating that people put or keep themselves in harms way…I’m advocating that we wrestle with the truly radical nature of the kingdom of God and our place and behavior in it.
Mercy, grace, and forgiveness are wondrous to receive yet equally difficult to give… all three require that you be wounded, that you suffer, before you have them to offer.
If you truly want to grow in the grace and mercy of God then God is going to put you in places of suffering where you can exercise both.
He says it’ll be worth it in the end.
I have no choice but to trust Him as I’m “under the spout where the blessings come out”.
God bless you….
Make your own application