The word ‘bless’ might be the most difficult to understand in our BELLS acronym. We might think of blessing as a formal ritual performed by the priest, or we think of blessings more as coming from God, which of course they do, but we are also commanded to bless.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
When we are cursed, we bless…
1 Corinthians 4:12
We are also urged to love and to encourage each other, this may be the simplest way to think of blessing. The following are suggestions as to how we bless others, in our church and community:
- To be blessed is to receive some sort of grace, usually from God, often undeserved, and always a gift. So when we seek to bless others, we can think of it as giving a small gift to someone; not something they are looking for or expecting; maybe a surprise.
- One definition of the word blessed is simply ‘happy’. In the Good News Translation and the Amplified Bible, the Beatitudes read: “Happy are those who…” So we could think of blessing others as looking for ways to bring them happiness; to put a smile on their face.
- There are both spiritual blessings and material blessings (Romans 15:27). A tin of biscuits might be a blessing, or help with a job around someone’s house.
- Blessings in the Bible very often involve speaking. We read through Genesis chapter one: “God blessed them, and said…” or “God blessed them, saying…” What can I say to someone that might put a smile on their face or be an encouragement to them today? If I don’t want to say it verbally, maybe I can send a text or write a note. It could even be anonymous.
Just as we are commanded to bless we are commanded NOT to curse. We may think we never curse because we don’t call down formal invocations against others, but where blessing is encouragement, cursing another can be anything said about them or to them that brings them down instead of lifting them up. It includes all manner of gossip; it can be dangerously subtle; it tears communities apart. It is never appropriate for a Christian.
We’re all living busy lives and trying to walk and grow in faith. It is not easy. It’s made harder when others on the journey seem against us but much easier when we know others are with us. When we think of trying to live out the “B” in BELLS that stands for BLESS, let’s think of how we can, intentionally and every day, offer little ‘gifts of grace’ to encourage each other; to be Jesus in each other’s lives, even if it’s just in a small and simple way.