There are eight Beatitudes in Mathew 5. Each of them outlines a consequence of a way of being. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness” why? “For they shall be filled.” Filled means satisfied, contented and overflowing.
The opposite of blessed or “happy”? Is woe.
Great sorrow or distress.
“they had a complicated tale of woe”
> Synonyms: misery, sorrow, distress, wretchedness, sadness, unhappiness, heartache, heartbreak, despondency, despair, depression, regret, gloom, melancholy.
> Or things that cause sorrow or distress; troubles.
“to add to his woes, customers have been spending less”
synonyms: trouble, difficulty, problem, trial, tribulation, misfortune, setback, reverse
“Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.” Is. 5:11
An inference is that we use “Nothing that affect us from the neck up.” (motto of: “The Pacific Group”, AA, Santa Monica CA.)
In dialogue with inmates recently, the small group agreed that narcotics are covered by Is. 5:11 but debate ensued regarding cannabis. What about tobacco? Setting aside the issue of addiction, we agreed:
“Lord help me avoid anything that interferes with my connection to you. Especially drinking and drugs (duh.) But also anger, malice, envy … lust… unforgiveness!”
Just what, exactly am I hungry and thirsty for? Is it walking and talking with God?
As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Prov. 26:11
On the inclusion of unforgiveness… as something that breaks my connection to God… It’s a condition that leads to bitterness, anger and resentment. Unforgiveness is as toxic to me as alcohol, or whatever I choose that is ungodly.
“Shouldn’t you also have had compassion on your brother, even as I had pity on you?” Mt. 18:33
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Gal. 6:1.
So, it’s another choice; whether to forgive or not. There is a spiritual path to blessing. And there is a way that drifts naturally into fleshy woe.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” Eph. 4:31
Malice? It’s when one enjoys seeing another in pain. Pretty much opposite compassion… Lord forgive us!