Over the last few weeks, I have been digging into the Beatitudes—those written steps that lead into the Sermon on the Mount. Somewhere, I’ve heard them referred to as Beautiful Attitudes.
I like that moniker. But I also think they give us some clues into how attitudes lead into behaviors.
Perhaps my recent study comes from watching The Chosen and how the show depicted the Beatitudes. Jesus and Matthew confronted each other and struggled through the beginnings of this famous speech.
Then the TV show focused on one or two of the disciples when describing each attitude. They seemed easier to understand, easier to somehow imagine how we can intentionally move into such a beautiful focus.
Another historical study comes from The Divine Conspiracy masterfully written by Dallas Willard. He concludes that as we become these attitude-driven people, we usher in the true kingdom of God. Not just a waiting until heaven takes us out of this earthly mess, but actually bringing the kingdom to earth by how we relate to each other.
After watching several webinars where Willard taught his own material, I was hooked into finding out more. I highly recommend a YouTube search and an hour or so nightly before bedtime, soaking in the wisdom of Willard’s treatise.
Most of us, schooled in scripture, can recite these nine descriptions and what it means to be this type of ‘blessed.’ The Amplified Bible describes it as happy and fortunate. I think it is a deeper type of blessing— the type that enfolds our very personalities and souls. So who are these people?
- The poor in spirit — those who know they need a Savior.
- Those who mourn — not only for their own sorrow, but also lament for the struggles of others.
- The meek — a bold humility that seeks powerful ways of helping others.
- Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness — fighting for justice and honest truth.
- The merciful — caring with compassion rather than confronting with judgment.
- The pure in heart — living a moral life and seeing God’s presence everywhere.
- The peacemakers — refusing to be baited into angry discourse but instead, finding the workable compromise.
- Those who are persecuted — not only physically, but also mentally and verbally through bullying or hateful emails or social media rantings.
For each type, Jesus gave the blessing that would follow, but he never placed a timeline on the reception of those blessings.
So those who mourn will be comforted, but they may have to go through a period of grieving first. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied, but they may spend their lifetimes waiting for justice and the vindication that brings peace. Those who are pure in heart shall see God, but is that when we actually visualize God or how we experience God in the smile of a child, the first blooms of spring, the halting gait of the handicapped?
I would like to believe that all the blessings mentioned would happen soon for those I love who are suffering through life. But sometimes, answers take a while, even an entire lifetime before we see them happening.
And like the Hall of Faith mentions in Hebrews 11, sometimes we will never receive the promise within in our lifetimes. We must wait for the ultimate ending when God cleanses the entire world, giving us a new heaven and a new earth.
Willard gives an assignment to his listeners on one of the YouTube videos, and I have decided to make that assignment the focus of my next journal insertion. Think of any current people who seem to be ‘unblessable’ and give them a Beatitude blessing.
Blessed are the homeless, for they are free of worrying about property taxes and increases in insurance rates.
Blessed are the single moms, for their husband is their Maker (Isaiah 54:5).
Blessed are those who suffer with addictions, for they must learn to trust God for every decision.
I would offer a challenge to all of us to consider the unblessable in our communities, our families, our churches, our society. And offer them a blessing.
It might help us think of them with more empathy. Or at least to accept the fact that the labels we place on people are slapped there by our own pride.
And ultimately that each of us needs a blessing and a movement toward more beautiful attitudes.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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