Monday, April 25, 2011

Blessings and Curses

At a MOPS meeting there was a speaker who talked about the curses and blessing found in Deut. 28. I listened to what she said and found the talk both interesting and disconcerting. Her focus was on the blessing you would receive for following God and the curses you get for disobeying God. She did mention that not everything that goes wrong in our lives is due to sin or disobedience, sometimes it's to learn something, but as I said her whole focus was humility and obedience to God.

As we split into our groups, our group leader also mentioned that she disagreed with some of what the speaker said. She understood where the woman was coming from, but she didn't think God was the source of curses. She explained that she thought that much of what happens to us is because we inflicted it on ourselves. For example: running a red light causes us to receive a ticket. God has very little to do with making the ticket appear in our mailbox.

I brought up the fact that the speaker didn't make any mention of the book of Job which is a book based around entirely around an obedient man who was "cursed." One can't look at the blessing and curses of Deut. without acknowledging the book of Job conflicts. Or does it?

I think it all comes down to what exactly is a curse and what is a blessing.
As one other woman mentioned, our treasure isn't to be found here on earth and we shouldn't focus our attention on the material. This point is eloquently illustrated by Jesus's Sermon on the Mount (Or the Plain). Jesus says "Blessed are you who are persecuted and hated…" and he also says "Woe to you who are rich." This is Jesus's version of blessings and curses, which contradict Deut. Deut. talks about you loosing your mind as a curse and that you will have many children and many livestock for a blessing.

If one is to follow Deut. version of blessings and curses than couples who have trouble conceiving are cursed and it must be because they disobey the Lord.
Yet Job clearly says bad things happen to obedient people and Jesus says to receive the material "blessings" is really to receive a curse. Not that I'm saying people with large families are cursed. Although some might feel that way at times :)

In the same vein, one of the women with a severely handicapped child mentioned that a friend of hers, a Catholic friend, implied that she must have disobeyed God. I want to point out that this is not just a Catholic thing I've heard. Many Protestants have said or implied something similar to others I know. This is wrong. No Protestant, No Catholic, No Christian should ever tell a parent with a handicapped child that their child is this way because of something the parent did. That's Old Testament thinking and Jesus came and dispelled that myth when he healed the blind, the lame, the sick, etc. He made it a point that their inflictions were not caused by something their parents did wrong and that the inflictions were not curses.

So while the speaker didn't hit the mark on the teaching, I'm happy to say many people realized that and said that they didn't agree with it. Our blessings or our curses are to be met at our deaths. Obedience or disobedience will be discovered on our judgment day. If you find blessing or curses on earth, then it's a matter of perspective. Many successful people who were very wealthy felt empty until they emptied their pockets and became nuns or priests. Then in following Jesus, they feel more rewarded. And some, who cannot have children, have discovered rewards in volunteer work and serving others. Not all earthly curses are curses. Sometimes they can be turned into good things. A good example of this is about Joseph and his time in Egypt.

The speaker said things are black and white when it comes to the Lord, but I don't think they are. We're small earthly creatures with tiny brains who can't think like God nor can we see the whole picture. I'll repeat it. It's all a matter of perspective. I'll joyfully follow God; I don't need a reward to do that. I'll just be thankful if I'm ever to attain peace in heaven.

2 comments:

  1. I have a friend from college that does MOPs, is very involved in it. I'd forgotten you were too. Very interesting post... kinda suprised (but shouldn't be) to hear that spoken about in that way, or from that stance. I guess it was a good conversation starter though right?

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  2. Yeah, MOPS is definitely a conversation starter. I'm not really liking as much though. It started out as a supportive Christian mom's group but now it's starting to sound more like a religious ed class. And there are a ton of misconceptions about Catholics. We share a lot with mainstream Protestants yet I feel that this particular group (maybe because of the church it meets at) is all Evangelical. And no offense to Evangelicals, but the vast majority of them do not have any grasp of other denominations and make no efforts to learn anything about them. Catholics are not the only ones who have sacraments, who go to confession, who have priests, etc. Yet we're targeted as being the only ones. It doesn't help that I think most Evangelicals get their information about other Christians from the media in particular films.

    I try to understand we're their coming from and what we have in common and find it very upsetting that a few of them will not budge from the misinformation they've been fed. I have to point out that I'm the Catholic and would naturally understand my faith better than they yet they don't believe me. It's sad and at the same time frustrating.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!