Monday, November 1, 2010

Misreading what's right in front of me.

Have you ever misread something tremendously?  I have seen this with my kids lately on their homework.  Somehow they read whatever would be more convenient and do that instead of the assigned homework. It's like misreading the math teacher's "evens only" assignment and instead thinking that they said "don't do the evens because you can check your work on the odds in the back of the book."  It's a beautiful way to delude yourself, and apparently it starts young.

I have done that with Scripture lately.  I spent some time rereading the Beatitudes lately.  It's funny that as I read them this time, I found myself wanting to be in mourning, get beat up for beliefs and quietly mope through life to secure a blessing.  I was wanting to make a hero of the worn out, sad faced Christians.  For a minute I wanted to be them.  I wanted to secure God's blessing , so I would do anything for it.  For some reason I jumped to the thought that it would take me be more sad, beaten down, and in pain to see the Kingdom of God.

That's a real backwards way to read the Beatitudes.  Somehow I was twisting Jesus' words to be about me.  Aren't they better understood as "blessed are you 'guy who has no hope and nothing to look forward to'  because you are the very kind of guy God blesses."  It's not because hopeless is awesome, but because God blesses anyone who looks to him, even the hopeless.  God blesses those who want His blessing.  He doesn't disqualify.

This is great news for those who seek righteousness, even when they get legalistic in their pursuit.  This is The Good News for those who are mourning their way through difficult situations, even those who are being persecuted.  When you find yourself in the very place where man would turn away from you, you are blessed because God won't.

It's funny to me how real and practical God's goodness is.  We are never outside of it.  We don't need to escape into mourning when we feel joy to find His blessing.  His blessing can reach us in joy.  At the same time, when we are disqualified by all who are around us, even in that place you are blessed.  Not because you find yourself there, but because you can find a God who is so good that you are never out of His reach.

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