Lesson 6: Blessed Are Those Who Hunger & Thirst For Righteousness
Matthew 5.6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Psalm 119.123 “My eyes fail looking for Your salvation and for Your righteous promise.” In Christ’s sermon, righteousness has the nuance of looking for justice and fairness. A lot of us expect that and look for that.
My daughter with a high sense of fairness doesn’t understand why Miriam would be struck with leprosy while Aaron wasn’t, though both rebelled against Moses (Numbers 12). Capital punishment is not given to Cain after murdering Abel, though the law given to Moses, by God, requires it. I often teach executives that there’s a difference between dealing with someone similarly and dealing with someone fairly. Example: two employees are often late to work—one is out late at night partying, the other is a single parent struggling to arrange daycare for a sick child. Would you treat them equally…or fairly by not being as harsh on the single parent? Perhaps God too treats people fairly, rather than equally.
We often have wondered about things not being fair. Someone else got the promotion though you work harder, longer hours, get more results. You are laid off though others with similar performance are allowed to stay. A traffic stop of a minority often results in a different outcome than someone of the dominant class. Even in another country, often Americans are treated with deference. Sometimes innocent people are imprisoned because they aren’t in the powerful socioeconomic stratum.
Ninety percent (90%) of a person’s performance appraisal has nothing to do with the person’s performance but has to do with the appraiser’s policies, preferences and perspectives (and error).8 For example, policy influence: “I can only rate 10% of my team above average and I must rate 10% below average.” Preference influence: “I never give anyone a 9 or 10; I don’t believe anyone is that good.” Perspective influence: “Even though you messed up 4x this year, I’ve always thought of you as a star and so I’ll rate you high. I never thought we should have hired Joe and, even though he messed up 4x, I’m going to rate him lower.”
Likewise, we don’t want God to have the same biases when He looks at us and so we call on His grace and mercy. If He grants it, shouldn’t we also grant grace and mercy to others as ambassadors of His? As His children? If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, wouldn’t we acknowledge others might be hungry as well?
…for they shall be satisfied.
Christ promises justice, righteousness for those who seek it. They will be filled, satisfied, fattened—and given parallels with the feedings of the 5,000 and the 4,000—there will be plenty left over. Righteousness and justice can abound in the Kingdom.
I might not be filled with a sense of fairness by a toxic leader or a toxic company culture. However, I can be an instrument of righteousness, keeping my sense of rightness, integrity, and fairness. In this, I might be God’s agent for righteousness to others in the organization. I have challenged unethical rules and dissonant policies, as well as executive’s rule-breaking and abusive behaviors. When I’ve caught myself, I’ve apologized and then encouraged employees to point out my bad behavior in the future. (I once had a sleepless night realizing I didn’t model the right kind of speech when I disparaged a customer; I then asked my team to point it out quickly so I could sleep at night in the future.) I’ve changed handbook policies if I didn’t want to live by the rules so that I and the employees could work under the same guidelines.
In the Kingdom, we can trust that God is paying attention. He might be preparing the best solution. For the Israelites, it took some time for the Promised Land to be a reality. The solution to their slavery was not a return to past prosperity in the Land of Goshen but a return to an area where their forefathers had once been squatters but now would-be owners. A good father gives bread to hungry children and it takes a while for the bread to bake.
- Matthew 5.6
- Matthew 7.9-10
- Proverbs 11.11, 16.11, 20.23
- James 2.1-10
1. Where do you experience the most unrighteousness, injustice?
2. Where are you likely to commit unrighteousness, injustice?
3. What incidences can you recall where Christ’s disciples may have given into favoritism of a person or a people group?
4. What does satisfaction look, feel like to you? What new ways might God satisfy your hunger and thirst?
5. What will you do differently this week?
Click the button above for a special offer.
Click the button above to go to Chapter Seven:
Blessed Are the Merciful