What the Lord has been trying to teach me for the past year or so is
a simple concept, yet at the same time, difficult to learn in practical
application. Sort of like playing chess. The principles can be learned in
an hour, the mastery takes a lifetime. The gist of it can be found in
the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of
evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your
reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were
before you. Matthew 5:3-12
that the first part of these beatitudes involves some sort of pain or
suffering. Poorness of spirit, mourning, meekness (meaning one's own
will, ways, and wishes are being actively subserved), hunger and
thirst, opportunities to exhibit mercy (meaning being wronged by
others), purity (meaning temptation experienced and resisted),
peacemaking (meaning living in the midst of strife), persecution, being
reviled, or the subject of evil false witness. A companion passage
always comes to
mind at this point:
have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a
tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if
anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And
if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak
as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two
miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one
who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
notice that the only way to turn the other cheek is to first have it
slapped? We can talk about these passages all day, but they can only be
learned by living them, and they can only be lived by being slapped,
being sued, being forced to go a way not of our choosing by the evil or
When evil happens to us, we think of it as a great
injustice. And it is. But it is also an opportunity to walk in the
footsteps of Him who was innocent, but who opened not His mouth before His accusers. Jesus called us to follow Him.
That means serving in selfless love, perhaps without thanks, and
suffering with joy, perhaps unjustly, without complaint, the martyrdom
syndrome, or retaliation. For a time. For the span of this life, over
soon. Then comes glory. Then comes glory.