Dose of Truth

Jesus' countercultural perspective

Tim Richards

The world’s most famous sermon was preached by Jesus; it is commonly called, The Sermon on the Mount. The best-known part of the message is the beatitudes –  Jesus’ statements about what makes a person blessed, or happy.

Recently, I came across a serious thought-provoking blog on the Denison Forum in which Christian author, Josh Miller, contrasted Jesus’ words with what many today believe will make them happy. He called them The Anti-Beatitudes. Consider the stark difference between Jesus’ Beatitudes and Miller’s Anti-Beatitudes. (The beatitudes appear first and are from Matthew 5:3-12, NIV. The anti-beatitudes appear after each beatitude and are italicized.)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.    Blessed are the self-sufficient, for they will climb the ladder of success.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.    Blessed are those with thick skin and no regrets, for they won’t appear weak, needy, or dependent on anyone.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.    Blessed are the bold, for they will conquer any challenge, no matter who or what is in their way.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.    Blessed are those who live by their own personal truth, for they will never have to be corrected or change their mind.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.    Blessed are those who judge and cancel others, for they will always feel morally and intellectually superior.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.    Blessed are the carnal in heart, for they won’t need God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.    Blessed are the fighters, for they will tear down anyone who disagrees with them.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.    Blessed are those who are praised, celebrated, and honored by many, for they have reached the pinnacle of success.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.    Blessed are you when people love you, envy you, and follow all of your social media accounts. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in this life, for in the same way they celebrated all the other important people who were before you.

Jesus shows us how to be better people and have a more peaceful life, while Miller’s “Anti-Beatitudes” focus more on self-worth but ironically undermine true happiness. As we move ever further from God’s perspective and accept contemporary culture’s point of view, we become increasingly unfulfilled. It is time to reconsider the principles by which we live and accept Jesus’ wiser perspective. The amazing paradox is that only Jesus’ countercultural perspective can save contemporary culture from itself.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at iamtimrichards@yahoo.com. Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at https://flickr.com/photos/pentaxpastor.

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