Blessed are you. That’s something Jesus said a lot. Blessed are the poor. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Blessed are you when men revile you, persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be glad! Great is your reward in heaven!
I admit that I can whine and complain as much—or worse—than the next person. Life is challenging, but who among us has not suffered at the hand of someone else? Who among us has not caused suffering also? Who among us is not worthy of the worse possible thing: death?
I’ve hated my tendency to complain for some time, and it’s something I try to be mindful of. I try to turn my focus onto all the good things in this life that I have to be thankful for. I even try to be thankful for the hard things. As time passes, I see more and more how blessed those hard things were—even more so than the “good” things in many ways.
Even now, all of the “suffering” I go through pales in comparison to the reward that is being wrought, and I know that there is much greater suffering in this world. Believers have always suffered, and far worse than I ever have.
I really do not like the victimhood mindset that saturates our culture. It leads to entitlement, and it is used as weapon against people wrongfully. I know that people suffer and compassion is important. So is justice. I also know that some people make up stories of victimhood to gain attention or control over people, and that is a shame because it creates a kind of massive “boy who cried wolf” scenario.
With so many people jumping onto the “I’m a victim” bandwagon, who will hear the cries of those who are truly in distress?
Who are the people in true distress right now? Not Christians.
We like to complain about how the world hates us, but no. Blessed are we.
We are inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven as joint heirs with the Son of God. How are we in any way victims? All things are working together for our good if we love the Lord and are called according to His purposes. Especially the hard things. Blessed are we!
I want to do better about moving away from a mindset of sorrow towards a mindset of thankfulness. Blessed are we! I want to praise Jesus for all that He has done to save us from this world and for the incredible things to come in His Kingdom: both as we experience His Kingdom within and in the future promise we have to look forward to.
Blessed are we!
I will never belittle the emotional or physical suffering of my brethren. I suffer too, and I know that we will suffer and I know that this is good for us. However, in our suffering, I think it will help if we can remember that we are blessed to suffer. To be counted worthy to suffer for Jesus is great blessing, and the more we suffer the more blessed we are.
We should help when we can, remembering that Jesus said, “in so much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it also to me.” We should not be the cause of each other’s suffering, and if we are then we need to repent. The fellowship of all believers should be our safety zone and our rest in Christ during times of trouble, not a source of contention and suffering. We fellowship in suffering. We do not cause it or ignore it when it is in our power to do something about it.
Imagine if the good Samaritan had passed by that beaten man and said, “blessed are you” then kept walking. Ridiculous, right? I say this because I know how easy it can be for us to find silly loopholes. We don’t pass by our suffering brethren and say, “blessed are you.”
Yet, we should expect suffering. I really do not like the idea that Jesus places no burden on us. When we come to Him as hopeless sinners, we find a place of rest because He is meek and humble. He does not make us feel harshly accused or condemned. We find mercy, understanding, and gentleness. Yet, once we accept His mercy, we enter His service.
Service is work. We are inheriting great responsibility as sons of God. How silly our carnal ideas of heaven are! How silly are we to think that we are to live a life of self-pleasure? No, we are living a life of sacrifice. If we rule with Jesus, will we not be servants? The best leaders are servants, not petty kings, tyrants, or spoiled princes and princesses who wallow in decadence and sin. Thanks be to God that in His mercy with many Jesus says, “hold fast what you have until I come.”
We are not earning our reward; we are being good stewards of it. Grace keeps us, not our works. That is important, yet I would hate to see Christians fall away due to fear or sorrow when suffering comes because they expected a life of worldliness made possible by the blood of the Son of God. Not so. That is a teaching God hates.
It is a shame that many among the faith view suffering as a sign that God is against you. No. Blessed are you! If you are chastised, blessed are you because God deals with you as a son. If you suffer for righteousness’ sake, blessed are you because your reward is great. Blessed are you!