Many times, we find ourselves thinking badly of people, judging, cursing, hating, and resenting. Our minds go down a negative path and we enact vengeance or rehearse the words to defeat our “enemy.” These thoughts continue until we horrify ourselves. We all have our favorite political target, our pet irritations, persistent resentments from childhood, or our often-repeated prophecies of doom.
These attitudes harm us spiritually, emotionally, and physically. They also harm our world and its people. There is a remedy for these hurts in our hearts, negative thoughts in our minds and resentments in our souls. The remedy is to bless.
In the reading from Numbers for January 1, 2022, God gives Aaron a blessing to say over the people of Israel:
May God bless you and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
May God look kindly upon you
And give you peace.
As spiritual descendants of Aaron, we are called to bless also. Why? Because it heals us and heals our world. Blessing cuts through the judgments, desires for vengeance, our curses. Blessing changes us, releasing our negative thoughts. Blessing changes the world, releasing our “enemies,” our hated family members, our annoying neighbors, our political and economic situations from our blame. Blessing frees us and frees the object of our blessing.
So, who shall we bless? Let us start by blessing 2022. It will be a year with worldwide challenges: continuing migrations, health problems, oppression, disasters, and tragedies. Let us bless each other. All of us know someone who suffered in 2021. Let us bless them. Let us bless our divided brothers and sisters with reconciliation and understanding. Let us bless those who migrate with a dignified and prosperous life wherever they choose to live. Let us bless our “enemies,” those whom we haven’t forgiven yet, those who have harmed us.
Pick someone in your life that you avoid or hate and pray them a blessing. Pick a situation in your community, blessing it until you are inspired with a solution. Read, listen to, or watch the news praying every situation a blessing. Bless until you notice the blessings around you. Bless until your face shines, until you are gracious, until you know peace.