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The Sermon on the Mount: a Brilliant Solution for Our Times

Matthew 5:1-16 (My Paraphrase)

Blessed are those who know they have much more to learn than they have to teach, and who are more eager to listen than to speak. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the humble and the hungry.

Blessed are those who cry tears no one sees, and cries them in God's presence, for He calls Himself "the Comforter."

Blessed are those who do not need to be right, to have the last word, or win an argument. Blessed are those who are okay with being completely misunderstood and misjudged. This is meekness, not weakness. It requires divine strength.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness —a sense of being divinely "made right"—when everyone else hungers merely for knowledge, power or wealth. For these shall be filled to the full. Fulfilled.

Blessed are those who forgive when forgiveness is undeserved, and who recognize themselves in those they are forgiving. That is how they can feel compassion toward the people they find most difficult.

Blessed are those who understand that it takes more than an open mind to see God; it takes an open heart, offered up for cleansing. Clarity of heart gives way to clarity of vision.

If you really want to be called a child of God, be a peacemaker. Anyone can be peace-keeper. Get up and go and do and say the hard thing. Be the first to reconcile, whether you were in the wrong or not.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake—not for “being right’s” sake. You are not on a mission to convince; that's God's job. Live righteously; if they reject you, they’re rejecting Jesus too.

When they poke fun at your faith, strip you of your rights and don’t show you the same tolerance they expect for themselves, be glad, but don't gloat. If you are reading this on an electronic device in a developed country, you likely haven't suffered real persecution yet.

You are the salt of the earth. Salt is meant to be sprinkled, not unscrewed and poured onto a plate of food.* Be different enough in your words and actions that others will recognize that you’ve got a certain unshakable hope that they need and want. God never called you to be weird, obnoxious, rude or overpowering.

You are the light of the world. And it's more of a soft, warm, candle light in the darkness than a sharp laser light in a laboratory. Let your faith translate into kind words and professional conduct that will point others to God in Heaven. This should be as natural as a city on a hill for those who are secure in God's love.

*I once heard my very wise Uncle Ben say this.


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