As we worked it through and discussed it, we all came to the conclusion that it was absolutely right to bless those children in church.
More recently I was involved in a discussion about whether it was right to bless the marriage of a same sex couple. (The Ministers involved were starting from a place of believing that Biblical marriage is something that is just between a man and a woman). At the end of the discussion there was mixed feelings with some feeling they would bless and others feeling they wouldn’t or couldn’t. This seemed like a strange outcome becasue many of the people involved in the discussion talked about gay friends and relatives who they got on well with. There was a real sense of wanting to welcome and love people but there was real uncertainty about whether if it would be right to pray a blessing.
I have been thinking about blessing recently and I wanted to share some thoughts about this question:
Is it right to pray God’s blessing on people who we disagree with?
The Bible has something challenging to say about who we bless:
Jesus said: “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you”. (Luke 6.27-28)
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12.14)
If we are supposed to bless our enemies, then it is fairly obvious that we can and should bless those we disagree with.
In Luke 19, we read about Jesus blessing Zacchaeus by going to his house for a meal even though Zacchaeus was involved in corruption, having cheated people. Zacchaeus was someone whose lifestyle very few people would agree with but he was blessed by Jesus and you can read more about this in The one where Jesus did something outrageous and shocking.
How do you feel about people who you disagree with?
God is a generous and loving God and he will bless them if he chooses to even if we believe aren’t living in line with what the Bible teaches?
Sometimes there is a concern that if we bless people, then we endorse them and their lifestyles, but Jesus didn’t seem to believe this and this is why he was called ‘a friend of sinners’ by the religious leaders.
We do have a responsibility to be truthful with people about the Bible says but to live biblically also involves us blessing people, whether they are people we love or our enemies or anyone in between.
Pause and consider if there is anyone who you have judged or disapproved of and then pray God’s blessing on them and look for an opportunity to bless them with some words, a prayer or an action.
When we can bless others even though we disagree with them, then we know that we are becoming more and more like Jesus. Can we be friends of sinners by blessing them too?