Jesus said, “Blessed are those they mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” And “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matt. 5: 4, 6, & 7,
Just about my whole life, I’ve been trying to figure out what the point of this ‘Sermon’, this teaching, really is. What can it possibly mean that you are ‘blessed’ (sometimes translated as ‘happy’) if you are so sad you are mourning? How is it that you are, or can be ‘happy’, when you are so bad that you’re desperate to be righteous (good). OK, I get the one about mercy, if you’re merciful to others, they’ll be merciful to you. Not all the time, but at least some of the time. (But even then, in the world, most of the time people, are only nice to others when they’re forced or shamed or guilted into it. Not out of the goodness of their hearts. Even me and you.)
So what are we supposed to do with this passage? How are we supposed to apply it to our lives, so that we are changed from being like us to being like Jesus? Sometimes I have pretty good questions, but very few real answers. But here goes.
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Blessed are you if you are in mourning for the way you are. If you are so sad about the way you are, both inside and out, you may be ready, prepared, to let God comfort you.” There’s that attitude, that humble attitude.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Blessed are you if you’ve realized that you have no righteousness, no goodness, in and of yourself, because then you are ready, like an empty vessel, devoid of righteousness, to be filled with God and His righteousness.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Like we said earlier, give forgiveness, get forgiveness; give mercy, get mercy. Give a little, get a little. Give a lot, get a lot.
(Oh, if you don’t really know the meaning of mercy, it’s this: Grace is unmerited favor. That is, God being nice to you when you didn’t do anything to deserve it. Mercy is more. It’s God being nice to you when you deserved to be punished. Sounds like the condition I’m in most of the time.)
Remember this: With mercy, if you regularly excuse the faults of others, and even make excuses for them, God will do the same for you. If you don’t; then God won’t do it for you. Just like with forgiveness. (See Matt. 6:14-15)
In the end, all three of these verses, in fact the whole of the Sermon on the Mount, is about our attitude. Like it says in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind (this attitude) be in you that also was in Christ Jesus, . . . who humbled Himself, . . . became a servant, and . . . was obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” The only way we can do that is if we do what it says in Luke 9:23, where Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, you must deny your self, take up your cross (sometimes translated as ‘die to your self) daily, (over and over); and follow Me.” It’s not so much about doing as it is about being. I’ve got to quit being like me, and start being like Jesus. It’s a slow daily process, but it’s worth the trouble. It will totally change your life!