Recently a friend on Facebook shared a story that was on NPR a couple years ago about a victim who treated his mugger right. It's a story that should be coming out of the church more. Too often, the church's stories are like the rest of the world: sex scandals, embezzlement, divorce, abuse, hatred.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us we're supposed to be different. We're not just supposed to not murder--we're not to hate, because all people are created in God's image. More than not committing adultery, we're not to look lustfully at each other because people aren't objects and sex wasn't created to be the goal. We're not to take an-eye-for-an-eye, but to be merciful instead of vengeful--even loving our enemies. The Law isn't meant to be a checklist of dos and don'ts, but a guide to help us know how to love God and love each other.
The Beatitudes tell us that the way of the Kingdom is not the way of the world. The world lauds power, wealth, strength, hedonism and vengeful justice. The way of the Kingdom is to realize we need help, to mourn, to be humble, to show mercy, to be pure, to seek peace and to turn the other cheek. These aren't things we can do on our own; these sorts of actions require a dependence on the Holy Spirit. They are the fruit of a life transformed.
And like the mugger in the story, when others encounter a life lived out with Kingdom values, those we encounter are changed. Not only do the Beatitudes show us our blessings, but they show us how to bless others as well.