(What) Blessings to You?

I got a very nice email today ending with " … many blessings to you." I nicely sent back, "Blessings to you, too."

What blessings?

Sadly, we no longer know how to bless.

We say things like, "Bless you." Bless me? Who bless me? Bless me with what?

Those are not questions that used to be left open.

You’ve probably heard the Irish blessing that begins with, "May the road rise to meet you and the wind be always at your back." The whole thing goes like this:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon your fields, and
Until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand

Much better! Now that’s a blessing!

The Scriptures teach us, "Bless, and do not curse." We incorrectly think that has something to do with cussing. It doesn’t. It has to do with literal cursing.

In fact, that’s where cussing comes from.

You probably think that "God damn you" is a bad thing to say because "damn" is a naughty word. Not originally. "Damn" used to be a curse word, not a cuss word. "God damn you" means "May God send you to hell after you die."

It’s the exact same curse as "Go to hell," except that "Go to hell" wishes you the punishment a little quicker, as in immediately.

The Scriptures consider blessing and cursing real things. You ought to read through some of the Scriptures on the subject, but here’s just one for you to consider:

Like a wandering bird or a flitting sparrow, so the curse without cause shall not alight. (Prov. 26:2)

It surely follows that if a curse without cause shall not alight, the writer of that Proverb believed that a curse with cause would alight. Proverbs further tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. That does not only refer to insults that bring depression or encouragement that can bring healing to a sick person. It also refers to the real power of blessing and cursing.

We are men and women of God. Our blessings matter. So do our curses, which is why we don’t curse.

Before we quit, let’s discuss one more common blessing: gesundheit.

Gesundheit is the German word for health. When someone sneezes, saying "gesundheit" is a blessing, wishing them health. After a sneeze is a pretty good time to bless someone with a health blessing.

I believe blessings carry power, especially for a man or woman of God, but for the most part only if we mean them. The next time you hear someone sneeze, don’t say, "Bless you." How vague is that? Go ahead and say, "Gesundheit," which you can say with meaning without embarrassing yourself. Better yet, go ahead and embarrass yourself, stretch out your hand and say, "Health to you" or something similar.

Well, I probably won’t do that, so it’s embarrassing even to suggest you do, but some of you are braver than me.

What I do, however, is bless people specifically and on purpose. Even a "grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" at the end of one of my emails is put in there on purpose. What better blessing than grace? And peace is the very guide of our hearts (Col. 3:15).

Before a job interview, you can say, "May you find favor in the eyes of all you see, and may God turn all your plans and steps for good."

And it is not just people who are to be blessed. The followers of God should bless God as well. "Bless you, Father" is no better when directed at God than it is when directed at men. Read the Psalms and learn how men of God ought to bless God. But you can begin with Jesus’ teaching on how to bless God:

Our Father, who is in heaven, may your name be considered holy. May your kingdom come, and may your will be done on earth just like it is done in heaven.

That’s a real blessing!

"May your name be praised in all the earth!" "May your goodness be acknowledged by the sons of men." "May your enemies be scattered and disoriented."

I hope that helps. Go, bless and do not curse, for life and death are in the power of the tongue.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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3 Responses to (What) Blessings to You?

  1. Shammah says:

    It is, and I love practicing. I pray the Lord’s prayer with “may your name be hallowed,” rather than “hallowed be your name” or “your name is holy” so that I remember what I’m really supposed to be saying. Blessing God is an activity we can become skilled at.

  2. Robin says:

    There have been times I have been praying and said Bless You God and thought, that’s not right. But it is!

  3. john bob says:

    This gives a lot to think on.

    We’re becoming so much more active in prayer and encouragement lately, it’s a good tool and bit of advice for honing this with one another.


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