We've been studying the Be-attitudes in our small group. Each of them start with the word 'blessed'... "blessed are you when..." Back in high school I was taught to interpret that word 'blessed' to mean 'happy'...as in, "happy are you when..." However, in my own reading of the Be-attitudes, I still don't see how those 'blesseds' can be interpreted as 'happy' necessarily...
Happy are you when you are poor in spirit?
Happy are you when you mourn?
Happy are you when you are persecuted?
Hmmm... I just don't think so! Those things are unlikely to make me FEEL happy... And so I've been learning that those 'blesseds' really have nothing to do with how I feel...in fact, they aren't about MY perceptions, feelings or situations at all really...they are about how God views me.
I've heard a Pastor at our church preach that those 'blesseds' are more akin to saying something like "congratulations, you lucky bum!"
Congratulations when you are poor in spirit
Congratulations when you mourn ...etc.
Why be congratulated? Because you are living in the kingdom of God...and the kingdom of the world is upside down... when you realize things like the fact that you are poor in spirit (spiritually bankrupt except for the love and grace of God), then you are finally flying right side up...congratulations, you lucky bum!
I like to interpret those 'blesseds' a little different from that though even. So much of my life has been spent seeking the approval of others...wanting to please them, sometimes with honourable motives (and sometimes with selfish ones), so when I read those 'blesseds' I read them something like this:
You are approved by God when you realize that you are poor in spirit.
You are approved by God when you mourn that this world and life is not as it should be
You are approved by God when you are meek and let God be God ....etc.
It has nothing to do with how I FEEL, but rather realizing how God FEELS about me, and that, my friends, makes all the difference!