The blessing as a condition

14.04.2015

Usually when we talk about blessing we think to “God’s blessing”, as something that falls on us, both drops of water or a pantry full of living. Other times we relate this to its origin word from Latin benedicere and Greek eulogein, both of which have a ground sense of "to speak well of, to praise,”. But the Scripture shows how this is a condition, a status as it can be the peace of God. In fact the peace should be lived in practice so that could be realized, not only as introspective experience, but as element that is the base when relating with others. The Apostle Peter in his first letter (Peter 3:8-12) gives an overview as to live the blessing. He shows how it is a condition that Christ has introduced us through His work, underlining first of all that we are blessed in the heavenly places.

 

What is the blessing? It’s not a rain that falls on us, nor a sicure job, or physical safety or health, as these are all fleshly desires. The blessing is to live knowing that God is with us, have His favor, know that He is with us in every situation and in every time all things work together for good to those who love God. That’s why we’re talking about condition. But Peter’s passage opens up an additional perspective, that the blessing is above all to bless others: “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

 

Blessing does not only mean to say loving words to someone, but also to go from words to actions. Even when we ask for God’s blessing, we wait for something real from Him, taking for granted that He will realize all we’re asking. Then it’s good to remember that in the extent we do and measure so it will be measured to us! All that we do it will be what we’ll reap; what we sow it will be what we’ll find along our path. The apostle Peter also invited to be of one mind, that is to have one vision, the same ideas. To these should be added the feeling, that is compassion. Be compassionate is to feel the suffering for those in need or in pain. Compassion is that feeling that touches the soul and it’s impossible not to belong to a Christian. Again the apostle Paul encouraged to be merciful: from feeling to actions, in fact is mercy when we give to those in need, when we forgive to those who are in debt with us.

 

Peter invited to not return evil for evil. Then we would wonder if the biblical passage is still valid, though there’s someone that does it: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24). All the Scripture is valid, being the word of God! But we even need to keep in mind that the Bible declares that if someone slaps you on one cheek we have to turn to them the other also, if someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them, that we should love our enemy and we should not do to our neighbor what we wouldn't want done to us. This is because alongside with love and mercy it goes the justice! In the same way if we demand justice, this should always be alongside with love, mercy and compassion. If we do so we’re blessing our neighbor. We all have to follow Jesus’ example, who’s calling all of us to bless without distinction, knowing that we’ve been called to this so that we inherit the blessing.

 

Do you want to be blessed? Observe what the Scripture says, that is to bless others so that we are blessed too. Then our prayer will be to ask God to help blessing others so that our life will be blessed as well: ”Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). Peter goes on: “He who would love life  And see good days,  Let him refrain his tongue from evil,  And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good;  Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,  And His ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3:10-12). Even from the words of the Psalm (Psalm 34:12) mentioned by the Apostle we understand how the eyes of the Lord are towards those who do good and how He hears their prayer. If we care to do good for others, God will provide for us without even asking Him. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Doing good to your neighbor is to seek the kingdom of God.

 

Jesus came to set free the prisoners, to give sight to the blind and the legs to the lame. The kingdom of God is to work for the good of others. When we start to serve the neighbor we’ll discover that there’s more joy to give than to receive, and while we’ll be busy doing so, the Lord will give us strength without even realizing! The apostle concludes the short passage by saying: “But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). What Peter affirms could seem intimidatory but on the contrary it needs to be interpreted as an advice that God wants to give us. Live the blessing as a condition to be a believer, hearer and doer of the divine will.

 

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