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Happiness


 In Matthew 5,  Jesus begins a sentence with the same words, “Blessed are...” eight different times.  What does it mean to be blessed?  It is a religious sounding word, isn’t it?  It is pregnant with virtue–a stained glass sort of a word.  The truth is, the Greek word simply means happy.  In English, blessed is a word of much higher rank than happy, but that doesn’t seem to be the intent here.  This word simply means happy.  In other Greek literature, the same word is largely used to denote “outward prosperity.”  For some reason, I struggle to translate the word the way I know it is supposed to be translated.  It seems almost sacrilegious to use the word happy instead of blessed, doesn’t it?  Actually, I checked the modern translations and paraphrases I have and only the Living Bible uses the word happy, and it doesn’t do it all the time, some of the times it uses the word “fortunate.”  Why do you think we have a hard time using the common, earthy word “happy” here?  Perhaps it is because we have a hard time believing Jesus is concerned with our happiness.  I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “Jesus is more concerned with your character than your happiness.”  Perhaps that truism makes us think that He isn’t concerned with our happiness at all. 

 I am convinced that in these verses, Jesus is talking about what it takes to be happy–good ‘ol run of the mill, ordinary happiness that seems to escape so many people today. Certainly the things He promises are things that will make a person happy, things like heaven, comfort, inheriting the earth, being satisfied, receiving mercy, seeing God, and being called the sons of God.  Whatever a person has to go through in life to receive those things would be worth it in the end.  But I don’t get the feel from reading this scripture that Jesus is saying that if we persevere through the horrible process the destination will be worth it all, rather, I believe He is saying that we can be happy through the process too.

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