Tender HeartsHow can we avoid being spiritually stubborn and unresponsive to God?
Top Christian Music Videos
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted (v.4).
It’s likely we’ve read Jesus’ Beatitudes as a list of virtues— attitudes and actions that He wants us to pursue. So, we think, He wants us to be humble (Matthew 5:5), merciful (v.7), pure in heart (v.8), and peaceful (v.9).
These are wonderful qualities to have. If we’re to be consistent in reading the Beatitudes this way, however, some of these “virtues” become tricky. Does Jesus really want us to mourn (v.4) or to be persecuted and insulted? (vv.10-11). (Some have said we should mourn over our sins, but this is not actually said in the text.) This way of reading the Beatitudes can also lead to a works-based understanding of salvation. If we’re humble, gentle, merciful, and so on, we assume that God will then “bless” us.
Perhaps Jesus was making a different point. Luke’s recording of the Beatitudes makes it clear that Jesus was not addressing people who thought they were poor, hungry, or sad, but people who literally were (Luke 6:17).
This has led commentators like Dallas Willard to suggest that Jesus’ Beatitudes are not a list of virtues but a list of “outcasts” rejected by society but “blessed” by Jesus (the people mentioned in Matthew 4:23). They were spiritually impoverished (5:3), sad (v.4), shy and prone to abuse (v.5), seeking but denied justice (v.6), ridiculed for being merciful or living by their strict conscience (vv.7-8), peacemakers instead of political radicals (v.9), and those persecuted for doing right or following Jesus (vv.10-11). All such people were “written off” by both the secular society and religious elite of Jesus’ day.
If this is what Jesus was saying, then the message of the Beatitudes is radical. Jesus welcomes all whom society rejects. Today that would include murderers, molesters, drug dealers, or the homeless, mentally ill, and overweight people.
Jesus ignores the world’s popularity lists. He takes anyone who will come to Him.
Read Mary’s inspiring “magnificat” (also known as the song of Mary) in Luke 1:46 to see the way God reverses the fortunes of those who are despised by the world.
What hopeless or “written off” people do you know? How can you be as gracious toward them as Jesus is to you?
- Tender Hearts - How can we avoid being spiritually stubborn and unresponsive to God?...read more
- The Ultimate Source - God’s goodness and faithfulness can lead us to respond in varying ways....read more
- Love in Action - How can you show Christ’s love to someone in need with both your words and your actions?...read more
- Generous Hearts - Have you ever been the recipient of someone else’s generosity?...read more
- Persecuted but Growing - Have you ever seen God use something negative or discouraging to accomplish something amazing?...read more
- Autumn Moments - What season of life are you in right now?...read more
- Where Love Flourishes - How does the love of a man and woman united in Christ reflect the love God has for us?...read more
- You're Needed - How are you serving the body of Christ?...read more
- Not Coming Back - How does Jesus’ sacrificial example inspire you today?...read more
- Everything Matters - In God’s vision for the world, everything matters....read more
- Valid! - Our value comes from God in whose image we all have been created....read more
- Cupcake Face - Do you have a sin in your life you’ve been trying to hide from God?...read more
- Four Views - Have you ever wished that the Bible was written differently or in a way that was easier for you to understand?...read more
- Perfect Peace - Are you living out God’s “perfect peace”?...read more
- Cherished Possessions - Do you share the same love, empathy, and care for sinners?...read more
- Is This Heaven? - What do you think about heaven and earth?...read more