A couple of weeks ago, an article was published on the Huffington Post titled, "What Christians Should Stop Saying", written by Scott Dannemiller. It really makes me reluctant when I see articles that tell people what to say, think or do. I watched as this article was shared on social media by various people (from different religious backgrounds) and I decided to see what the hub-bub was about. Most people who had shared the article, agreed with Dannemiller's point and immediately began to change their choice of words, instead of "blessed" they began to use the word "grateful". The power of social media, right? I had a direct opposite response to his suggestion and thoughts.
Greg Laurie (a Pastor in Southern California) once stated,
"Blessed is a Christian word. It is a spiritual word. It is a biblical word. And it has been hijacked by our culture."
I would have to say, I agree. When you have a personal relationship with God and understand His character, the word "blessed" has a deeper meaning. Blessings whether physical, spiritual, or emotional, are a direct reflection of Gods goodness and love. Not a prize or reward for our actions, this is where Dannemiller was focusing his attention in his article. We can not measure our spiritual depth based upon our material gain nor can we measure our obedience to God.
The Hebrew word bless or blessing is translated from the word 'barak' which means, "to praise, congratulate, salute". Another translation in Hebrew is 'esher' which means, "happiness". In the Greek translation, the word 'makarios' is used and it means, "happiness or bliss". Like Dannemiller expressed in his Huffington Post article, I realize we are talking semantics. I think it is important to go a little deeper than to define a word only by one attribute.
Dannemiller wrote about the struggles of so many (millions actually) who suffer from homelessness, starvation, and lack of resources. I find it such a wildly, grand expression to compare ourselves to others. I was not born into a third world country, that is not my story or God's plan for my life. Comparisons to what I have and they lack is an unfair evaluation for everyone. We can not measure God's love based upon our possessions or circumstances.
When my husband was in law school, we were newlyweds learning how to navigate life as a couple. I can't say I was super obedient or in-tune with God during that season of my life, my observations came years later. I was working as many hours as I could at a department store, while the Love of my life had his face buried in giant law books. Like Old Mother Hubbard, our cupboards were bare, for a few years. Many, many times we found ourselves searching the floor of our car for pennies to buy some burritos at Taco Bell. I look back and see distinctly how God was pouring out His love and protection on us as we struggled through those first years of marriage. There were times we would receive an unexpected check in the mail that would cover our rent or we would sell something that enabled us to buy more school books. I certainly didn't feel blessed but that didn't mean I was not receiving blessings.
I am grateful for so many things in my life. I know that I am blessed by God. He provides food, shelter, clothing, friends, health, finances, and protection not because of my obedience to Him, but because He is a generous and loving God. When times are hard and material goods seem to be lacking, He is in the middle of those moments providing comfort, love, and mercy. He so desperately wants us to know His blessings, regardless of our circumstances or material comforts.
I'm not going to tell you what you should or shouldn't say to express the good in your life. Whether you believe in God or not, He believes in you. We are surrounded by blessings and it is up to us to recognize where (or Who) they are from.
It has literally taken me weeks to write this post. I have written this with an open heart and realize not everyone will agree, I'm okay with your opinions. I would appreciate your thoughts on what you think about the phrase, "I am blessed" and what those words mean to you (if anything). Please share in the comments section of this post.