“Bless your heart!”
I’m sure you’ve heard this expression before, especially if you’re from the southern states of the US like me. If you haven’t, let me explain it to you. More often than not, if someone says “bless your heart,” it’s almost a guarantee you’re not actually being blessed. You’re being excused for some wrong or improper deed, or maybe you’re being downright insulted for your ignorance in a particular area of life.
“Her hair has seen better days, bless her heart.”
“He’s two fries short of a Happy Meal, bless his heart.”
Do you see it? It’s mainly a phrase used to soften a blow.
Here’s another common phrase: “Bless you.” I think it’s safe to say that everyone has heard of this one. This is simply a polite thing we say after someone sneezes. Are you noticing a trend? Culture uses the word “bless” a lot!
But where does this originate? What does this word actually mean? Is its sole purpose only to be used for passive-aggressive insults, or maybe to cover a multitude of sneezes?
The Webster’s dictionary defines the word blessed as “divinely or supremely favored; fortunate.”
Divinely favored? As in God-favored?
The word ‘blessed’ is actually used in Scripture when Jesus is teaching His Sermon on the Mount:
“And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: ‘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…’” – Matthew 5:2-6 (ESV)
And the list goes on! I challenge you to read all of Matthew 5 and see it for yourself! To be blessed is to have or receive God’s favor, which if you think about it, is a pretty big deal. Those who mourn have the favor of God who comforts them. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed to be satisfied.
Here’s another blessing found in Titus 2:13-14, and this one has nothing to do with anything we do, because it’s rooted in what Christ has already done:
“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.” (ESV)
Woah! God has blessed us with an assurance that one day we’ll get to see the One who laid down His life to make our eternal life possible! To think that such an awesome God would show that kind of favor to sinful human beings like us? That’s pretty crazy!
You see, it may be a word we toss around without a second thought – but to God, it’s also a verb. It’s something He does. It’s something He gives, and we receive. That’s awesome!
Hopefully you’re starting to realize at this point that this five-letter word – “bless” – carries a lot of meaning. Culture doesn’t give this word enough credit and tends to use it in meaningless and sometimes degrading ways. While I’m totally not saying is that it’s not okay to bless someone after they sneeze, I am saying that it’s time we realize just how awesome this word is!
Now, I know that grasping the depth of this word ‘blessed’ is a lot easier said than done. After all, this is a word that we hear a lot, and it’s easy not to really notice it. That being said, there are a lot of verses in the Bible having to do with blessings, and I’d bet if you checked them out you would be blown away! We see throughout Scripture that God shows His favor in some amazing and truly unbelievable ways! We are constantly shown that to be ‘blessed’ isn’t just something to be shrugged off, but a truly miraculous gift!