I am thinking today of how blessed I feel. I have good health, I have a family that loves me, I have a comfortable home to live in, enough food to eat, clothes to wear, and a car that works well. Yes I do feel blessed. I think most people in America are blessed; even those who have little have more than most in other countries. I, like most people, don’t spend much time thinking about how blessed I am I just enjoy my life. I ran across a scripture that reminded me of something about blessings. Take a look.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:8-18, (New International Version or NIV).
I find it difficult to comprehend that in order for me to continue being blessed I must bless others, even those who hate me! What a difficult concept. And yet I do find this theme over and over in the Bible, that we are to be a blessing to those who do not like or appreciate us just as we give blessings to those who do like and appreciate us. The Apostle Peter makes this very clear; if you want to inherit a blessing then you need to be giving blessings to others. Peter continues to explain that those who dislike you will not understand you giving them your blessing and many will repay your kindness with evil acts against you. I guess he would understand all about this as one of the chosen twelve by Christ considering all that they went through after the death of Jesus. Beatings, being kicked out of places they tried to preach, even being put into prison and all put to death was what the twelve chosen by Jesus endured! Yes, Peter understood what he was saying here, and yet he said what he said, that in order to inherit a blessing you have to give a blessing. Wow! Notice the ending of this passage, that if you suffer for doing good then you do well because suffering is what Christ endured for you and for me! Double wow!!!!
What exactly does it mean to be blessed? What is a blessing? How do we give blessings to others if we don’t really understand what a blessing is? Let’s look the word blessing up in the dictionary. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blessing the definition of a blessing is:
- approval that allows or helps you to do something
- help and approval from God
- something that helps you or brings happiness
Full Definition of blessing
- a : the act or words of one that blesses b : approval, encouragement
- : a thing conducive to happiness or welfare
- : grace said at a meal
Well now, that needs some explanation as far as I am concerned. I get it when number three says it is a prayer said at a meal. I almost always ask God to bless my meal before I eat it. I can understand number two also since I feel much happier when I have enough money to pay my bills. I can even understand number one a and b that my words and actions can be a blessing to encourage others. What rather surprises me is that in this modern-day of political correctness someone hasn’t re-written the dictionary to leave out God from the definition of a blessing! That in itself is a blessing to me! I must conclude then, that a blessing is something that brings others some encouragement it can and often does make them happy! That is easy for me to do when I’m given the opportunity to bless those I love like my family and friends. This is not so easy to do when given the opportunity to bless someone who dislikes me or even hates me! Yet when I think about this I realize that this is exactly the point! God gives people who hate Him blessings all the time just as He gives blessings to you and me who love Him with all our hearts!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48, (NIV).
I finally get it! God has been blessing those who ignore Him, disrespect Him, dislike Him, and say that He is dead for a very long time now. Every day we get up and see daylight. Every night we see darkness so that we can sleep comfortably. Every breath that we breathe, every drink of water that we take, every piece of food that we eat to keep us going is a blessing from God. If we are to be God’s children then we must model to the world God’s love for everyone. That is what a true blessing is, to love those who despise us and look down on us and want to harm us. The blessing comes from a place of love that the world simply can’t understand because it is real love and the source of that love can only be found in God! I don’t know about you but I have been down some pretty dark paths in my life, places where I knew not what the next step would be but I had assurance that God was with me in the journey guiding and leading me. I have learned to bless those who hate me, who want to see me fail, and want to pretend I don’t exist. It has not been easy, but with God’s help and with Jesus cheering me on I have given the blessings and lived to tell about it! I love the peace that I have in my life. I love the clear conscience that I have in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 3:21). I love being blessed and to give blessings to others. I hope learning about blessings has been an encouragement to you as it has been to me. Keep doing all the good you can do for all who cross your path.