Thursday, October 16, 2014
Mat 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Mat 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
And the verses continue, beginning with μακάριο, blessed. Strong’s has one of the best definitions – there are some others – of how this word is applied when we say, “Have a blessed day.” What we’re passing along is a bit more than a simple greeting, it’s a wish that people we meet really are fortunate and happy.
What I did not realize until a day ago is how that is received by some people. One person that I know. They find it offensive.
Why? Because it is said by Christians. Believers in God. And the people complaining about it are not. They find our good wishes offensive because we believe God exists.
I wish I could point you to the original Facebook post, but like many others, I couldn’t find it. I did find several results when searching for “atheist have a blessed day” in Google. One, an atheist site, basically told complainers to chill out, that it’s not a big deal. Another was a letter to Dear Abby, and her answer to a complainer what just about the same.
The Dear Abby writer expressed a desire to return the greeting with a Zeus blessing, but that would not indicate either his personal belief nor a true desire that his greeting is expressing happiness. When I hear “Have a blessed day,” I think the person made a statement of faith and I appreciate the thought they wish me happiness.
I can’t help but wonder, though, why someone would be offended by another person wishing them happiness. Or, are they offended by an individual’s belief in a supreme being? Or, is it Christianity itself that causes offense? It has before. What Jesus said offended people:
And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (Matthew 15:10-12 KJV)
He also spoke of a time when people would be offended, and hate:
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (Matthew 24:7-10 KJV)
But the one that gives me the greatest sadness is:
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. (Mark 4:16-17 KJV)
Yes – the ones who heard God’s word, received it with gladness but were hurt, and were offended. Offended enough to find that another person’s belief continues to offend.
However, their feeling offended is insufficient cause for me to cease to greet people with “Have a blessed day,” or the coming season’s “Merry Christmas!”
Receive them as you will.