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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 9:02 PM
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Puttin’ the ‘be’ back into be-attitudes!

STUFF ABOUT GOD AND CHRISTIANITY | Dr. Ron Braley

Dr. Ron Braley Guest Columnist

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Dr. Ron Braley. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

Most of us have heard of the ‘Beatitudes’ (Matthew 5: 3-11 or Luke 6:20-23). You may have even heard them read recently in liturgies. But hearing them reminded me that we may not fully understand them or the action-andreward implications. And what is ‘blessed?’ Who are the ‘poor in spirit?’

We’ll unpack those things as we explore each beatitude, which I call “Be-Attitudes.”

Some religious teachers say the blessed in the beatitudes are ‘happy people.’ In other words, ‘blessed’ means happy. For instance, that would mean that the ‘blessed who mourn’ in Matthew 5:4 are happy in their mourning. This isn’t necessarily true.

Happy depends on happenstance— external influences. The mourner could be joyful, which comes from inside by the Holy Spirit, despite sorrow or tribulation.

However, in the case of the beatitudes, the blessed receive a reward for their ‘being.’ According to the original language and context, a blessing is something received. So, the blessed have received something. For instance, in the beatitudes, the blessed are recipients of God’s good favor in various forms like His Kingdom, rule over the earth, satisfaction, mercy and the right to be His child. Let’s look at each beatitude in more detail, and you’ll see what I mean.

• “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” People more interested in the things of the spirit than earthly riches will receive something beyond wealth: God’s Kingdom.

• “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

God’s favor in comfort received (see also 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

• “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” God’s favor in power and authority received.

• “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

God’s favor in righteousness received.

• “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” God’s favor in mercy received.

• “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” God’s favor in His presence for purity—removing all that hinders His Spirit.

• Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” God’s favor in receiving adoption into His family for those who seek peace, not violence (including in religion!).

• “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Like verse three, these persevering folks will receive the Kingdom.

Summary

The blessed aren’t always happy but receive something more valuable than emotion. In the beatitudes, they receive from God because they persevere and bless others according to His desires for peace, purity, and perfection.

Next, we’ll prepare for Christmas by revisiting my December 2021 ‘Christmas, the retold story.’ Listen and do more and speak less in the meantime.

Questions or comments? Email news@ taylorpress.net.

Blessings and peace, Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.


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