Some Things Bitter to Digest

Woe to them, for they have brought evil on themselves.—Isaiah 3:9

The fifth Beatitude, when practiced, engenders within us good mental and spiritual health. Psychologists have shown that those who lack the qualities of mercy and compassion are more likely to develop physical problems. Harsh, judgmental attitudes may bring a sense of satisfaction to the person who does not know the meaning of mercy, but it is a false sense of satisfaction.

A verse that, strictly speaking, does not apply to what I am saying here, but nevertheless has some application is this: “It was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I ate it, my stomach became bitter” (Rv 10:10). That is what happens whenever we adopt any attitude that is not in harmony with Jesus Christ. At first it is “as sweet as honey”—its beginnings are apparently sweet—but it “[becomes] bitter”—it cannot be assimilated. Our human constitution is not made to function effectively on any attitude that is foreign to the spirit of Jesus Christ.

A Christian doctor says: “We are allergic to wrong attitudes just as some people are allergic to shrimps.” I am physically allergic to red and green peppers. I have tried them scores of times, but the result has always been the same—I get sick. I am just as allergic to harsh, judgmental attitudes. I can’t assimilate them. They disrupt me—body, soul, and spirit. And what goes for me, goes also for you. When we fail to practice the principles which our Lord outlined for us in the Beatitudes, then our sense of well-being is lowered, depleted, and poisoned. Goodness is good for us—spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Prayer

Father, something is being burned into my consciousness: there is only one healthy way to live—Your Way. When I break with You, I break with life. Help me always to maintain a close connection with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 23:1-6; 31:9; Ex 34:6; Gl 5:22; Eph 5:9

Goodness is a characteristic of what?

Can you make the same declaration as the psalmist?

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