The Be Attitudes

Thunderously, inarguably, the Sermon on the Mount proves that before God we all stand on level ground: murderers and temper-throwers, adulterers and lusters, thieves and coveters. We are all desperate, and that is in fact the only state appropriate to a human being who wants to know God. Having fallen from the absolute Ideal, we have nowhere to land but in the safety net of absolute grace.  ~ Philip Yancey

The most well-known portion of The Sermon on the Mount are The Beatitudes. Beatitude means supreme blessedness or happiness. Is Jesus saying that our experience of blessedness or happiness is not contingent on our particular brand of sin; we’ve all fallen equally short of the Ideal, but on our attitudes? He delineates the blessed attitudes, I’m adding the woes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
Woe to you who are proud
Blessed are those who mourn,
Woe to you who are cold-hearted
Blessed are the meek,
Woe to you who are harsh
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
Woe to you who are indifferent
Blessed are the merciful,
Woe to you who are unforgiving
Blessed are the pure in heart,
Woe to you who are self-centered
Blessed are the peacemakers,
Who to you who are instigators
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
Woe to you who are cowards

Jesus didn’t just say, have this attitude. He said, be this attitude (blessed are you who are).

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Having fallen from the absolute Ideal, we have nowhere to land but in the safety net of absolute grace. What a wide, wonderful net it is!

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

5 thoughts on “The Be Attitudes”

  1. Chaz – Just watched the video. Excellent! Thanks for sharing it. I love the emphasis on I BELIEVE. It feels so much more like a commitment and a promise, instead of an incantation. The 3 years I spent in a tiny Episcopal church in Oregon taught me the beauty in praying this prayer collectively. It was prayed by most (although not me, I had to read it) from memory, slightly out-of-sync. That added to the feeling of each of us really praying individually, together.

  2. I love the Sermon on the Mount. To me, it is the main reference point of what Jesus taught.

    A favourite and amazing musical recording is “Creed”, by Apt Core. Quite creative twist on this set of scriptures that have faded in meaning with their widespread repetition. This number reaches me. It brings new life to the Beatitudes…. Check it out at…

  3. Debby, I read The Divine Conspiracy – but that was years ago… and I don’t honestly remember it well. I was hesitant about adding the woes (particularly since it was my un-scholarly interpretation) but I find I get caught up in the beauty and the poetry of the ‘blessed’ and miss the obvious applications for me own life.

  4. Have you read Dallas Willard? I have two of his books on my shelf still waiting for me to gather up the courage to read them. A friend told me one looks at the Beatitudes. I need to start with that one as Celebrate Recovery focuses on them. I like your “woes”. Really puts a clear perspective on it.

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