Are you “blessed”?
There are many Christians, myself included, who would suggest that by the sheer nature of our Salvation in Jesus Christ, we are, indeed, a blessed people.
But if you asked a room full of people what it means to be “blessed,” I suspect you’d get a wide array of answers.
For some, to be blessed means to have health, wealth and a good family.
To others, to be blessed means to travel the world or climb a mountain.
And then there are those of us who acknowledge that God blesses us even through a trial by showing us His faithfulness and love. Or how He blesses us with His comfort after the death of a child, or with food to eat after the loss of a job.
The Bible refers to being blessed in a variety of contexts, perhaps most notably in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12).
Of course, in that scene, Jesus suggests that to be truly blessed may look nothing like the usual things that come to mind when we consider the word.
Recently, the subject of being “blessed” has even been addressed by secular media outlets.
What’s prompted the attention?
The “#blessed” hashtag has been used so often on social media that one particular critic in The New York Times is suggesting that it’s become “the go-to term for those who want to boast about an accomplishment while pretending to be humble, fish for a compliment, acknowledge a success (without sounding too conceited), or purposely elicit envy.”
How can a word that is supposed to mean “endowed with divine favor and protection” take on such an opposing use?
Yet a quick look at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram shows just how popular the hashtag has become – and that prevalence inevitably lends itself to misuse.
Does it matter?
Some Christians have responded by not using it any longer.
For example, a former missionary even called blessed “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying,” asserting that “calling myself blessed because of material good fortune is just plain wrong.”
This author certainly does seem to have a point in light of the Beatitudes and Jesus’ complete lack of reference to material comforts in that teaching.
So perhaps the answer isn’t in avoiding the word, but expanding it to its full meaning.
Many of us have found in our Christian walk that blessings can take many forms.
Speaking very personally, I would never suggest that losing my mom to cancer at 9, or my dad to alcoholism at 12, was a “blessing” – but years later, I can certainly appreciate and understand the truth of Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.”
I like what C.S. Lewis once suggested: “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”
I’m curious to hear from you.
Do you feel the term is overused or misused? And if so, how should we respond? Or should we respond at all?
Perhaps most importantly, how has the Lord blessed you?