Continuing along the lines of how others see God in us…
There are many ways to talk about what makes a good person or a good act. Plato and Aristotle taught that we should be more concerned with virtue, good character, than with individual acts. This is a fairly direct contrast to the Law of Moses, which is only concerned with actions and only touches on the issue of motivation in the 10th Commandment. However, in the Prophets we see a change. God wants right motives and character over anything else, good people will do the right thing. Jesus continues this in his teachings.
While we don’t often think about it this way, a case can (and has) been made that the “Beatitudes” are in fact a list of characteristics that those who are part of His Kingdom have. They are not a list of desperate people who receive God’s blessing, but rather both the people listed and the blessings are all one and the same. A person who is part of the Kingdom will know God’s presence.
So, do we have these qualities? What are they?
Poor in Spirit – Humble
Mourn – Experience a real feeling of sorrow for the evils of the world with those who suffer from them
Meek – Gentle, not insisting on rights or displaying strengths for selfish ends.
Hunger and thirst for righteousness – To ache with a need to see the injustice of the world righted
Pure in heart – those who seek the Kingdom of God first
Peacemakers – not just peaceful, but actively seeking peace, knowing that Peace is not the absence of conflict but a state of wholeness.
The last should almost be an “If/Then” Statement.
If you do all of these things you WILL be persecuted. The world does not like something so contrary to the way it works. There will be resistance.
So the question for us is this: When do we not have those characteristics? Ever? Always?
When am I arrogant, when do I not hurt with others who are hurting, when do I now long for the world to be made right, when do I not seek God’s will first, when am I not merciful, when do I not try and make peace?
There can be no “But!” in this. No rationalizations of who is deserving or undeserving. No questions about legitimacy.
If we are to show Christ to the world then this must be how we are known.
It is the unfortunate failure of Christians and the Church that we are not.