Clichés. We all use them,
- In the nick of time
- Every cloud has a silver lining
- Think outside the box
A cliché is a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.i Often it is no longer relevant or even noticed as we speak with one another. Clichés exist in every language and can be quite similar though usually reflect the culture from which they originate.
I asked my Cantonese-speaking hubby for a couple examples to illustrate this. In English, when referring to a person we may say,
- “He’s as fit as a fiddle”; in Chinese, “Fit as an ox”
- “She’s a diamond in the rough”; the Chinese say, “Jade inside the rock”
One common cliché I hear a lot is “It’s such a blessing…” Realistically, it’s true that many people and things are a blessing. A few that have been especially meaningful to me lately are the blessings of
- good health
- family connections
- supportive friendships
- hope for the future
- God’s comfort and peace
But how often do I really stop and reflect on where that blessing has come from? Do I truly believe that a less-than-hoped-for outcome is a blessing? Can it be a blessing? When I watch a friend endure suffering due to the actions of another is there any blessing in that? Is the transition period from one stage of life to another potentially a blessing?
Often we think of blessings as something we say before a meal or a favor we impart on someone. A blessing can come from God or may be prayed over someone by a minister. They can be formal or informal, elaborate or simple. In some cases it may imply giving permission, agreement or approval.
Through studying the biblical book of Luke over the past few weeks, I discovered the word “bless” or “blessing” is repeated 22 times. Sometimes it refers to a blessing attributed to Jesus Christ and the Lord God or to occasions where He prayed a blessing over something, for instance the loaves and fishes.
However, the majority of the time, Jesus blessed people for their devotion to following Him. And so, He blesses us the same way today when we are hungry to know Him better, empathize with those who need our emotional support, endure mistreatment because of our decision to live for Christ, hear His Word and obey it, prepare ourselves for His coming, and provide for those who cannot help themselves.
My blessedness can either cause me to become frivolous and complacent or it can motivate me to transfer that blessing to someone else. Nowhere should this be more evident than in the family of God. When I call myself a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, there are particular qualities that He expects me to demonstrate.
The apostle Peter said, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers (and sisters), be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (I Peter 3:8, NIV)
As I discussed these verses with my women’s group last Wednesday, I challenged each of us to watch for opportunities to practice these qualities through the week. They must be distinguishing attributes of a Christian, who takes seriously the words of Christ when He said,
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8, NIV)
Until next time,