This month’s Pastor’s Perspective is delivered by Dr. Teman Knight, Heritage Baptist Church, Montgomery
The Bible describes three types of blessings. First, we are blessed by God because he has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. Ephesians 1:3 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Paul goes on to list many of the blessings we have received from God. Those blessings are too numerous to count.
The second blessing is our command to bless God. Psalm 103:1 reminds us to “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” We bless God when we praise him for what he has done for us.
The third blessing is when we bless other people. One of the most important practices I learned as a father was to bless my family. Unfortunately, in our society we unintentionally curse those we love the most. We do this through criticism, put downs, and complaints. Our hurtful words often imply that we do not value them or think that they are worthy. We might not mean to be hurtful, but that criticism often becomes prophetic. “You can’t do that” means they probably won’t. “You’re a bad boy” means they might become a bad boy. The negativity in our culture creates a society where speaking hurtful words over those we love becomes the norm. We must break this cycle by blessing others and becoming a blessing to them.
How do we bless others? A blessing is praying over those we love and asking God to do for them what we cannot do for them ourselves. Often blessings are accompanied by an appropriate touch. Sometimes we do this subconsciously like when a small child runs by us, and we reach out and touch the top of his head. In that moment, we are saying, “we value you” and “we love you” even without speaking words.
Often blessing involves speaking words aloud. When my children were small, I began the practice of placing my hand on their heads and praying over them after they said their nighttime prayers. That prayer often went like this, “Dear God, please bless Jay and keep him. Keep him safe and keep him pure. Make him strong so he can live for you. Make your face shine upon him and give him peace. Amen.” Every time I blessed my children, I conveyed to them that I loved them, and I valued them. Even as teenagers, they would often seek me out at night to pray a blessing over them. The impact of the blessing on their lives was greater than I ever imagined.
The blessing was so important to them that both of my children included it in their wedding ceremonies. The practice of blessing continued from my children to my grandchildren. When I saw my grandchildren for the first time, I laid my hands on them and prayed for God’s blessing on them. Now my children continue the practice by praying a blessing over their children.
Mark tells us of an occasion when the people were bringing their children to Jesus so that he could bless them. The disciples rebuked them as if to say that those little children were not important enough for Jesus’ time. Jesus became indignant at the disciples and demanded that they let the children come to him. Mark 10:16 says, “And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”
Who can you bless today? Your spouse, your kids, or your grandkids. Maybe a child at church or an adult in your neighborhood just needs some affirmation. You can be the one to bless them. Your actions and words can say, “you have value,” and “you are important enough for me to pray for you.” People need someone to pray God’s blessing on them and change their lives. Bless them and don’t curse them. See what God can do through you today.
Dr. Teman Knight is the Pastor of Heritage Baptist Church on Perry Hill Road in Montgomery. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary extension center in Birmingham. Teman and his wife Darlana live in Montgomery. They have a son and a daughter and four extraordinary grandchildren. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.