Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
By Rev Jenny Ching
October 2, 2022
A sister on wheelchair recently said to me: “I found that lately I have been jealous of others. Our group leader who used to sit with me all the time has been sitting with a brother with greater needs than me ever since he returned to the fellowship. So, our group leader cannot accompany me anymore and I found myself getting jealous of him. I know I shouldn’t as he really has greater needs than I do. I want to confess my sin to God and to the brother!”
I appreciate the sister’s candidness. She has dealt with her sins seriously, which is good. However, jumping to confession too early would perhaps cause us to miss a good opportunity to know ourselves. Confessing and asking oneself not to be jealous before knowing what is really happening inside or taking care of the inner needs has probably added to the sister’s psychological pressure. I asked her, “How do you feel when the group leader cannot accompany you?” She said, “I feel lonely and unhappy… I think my need for others’ company is a shame…” I asked whether she was willing to ask the Lord Jesus to first comfort and heal her loneliness and unhappiness because of this change and she said yes. Then, we talked about “not being jealous.” The sister said she wanted very much to do that but she could not. I told her that there are also many things that I want to do but I cannot. But we are not hopeless because we can ask the Lord Jesus for the grace of transformation. It is not possible on our own but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Having asked for grace, we can then patiently await the Lord’s transformation. With the sister’s consent, we prayed. The sister looked relaxed after the prayer. Thank the Lord for meeting her inner needs.
What happened to this sister made me think of the book, Poverty of Spirit by Johannes Baptist Metz. Through Christ’s becoming man, the author tells us that the real nature of humanity is poverty in spirit. Jesus is a perfect man, but He made clear to us that there was nothing He could do but to always make Himself nothing, and rely and obey the Father (Philippians 2:6-8). That was how He could live and work miracles. That was how He could complete the tasks of His life entrusted to Him by the Father. The author also exhorts us to be like Christ and admit and accept that we are poor in spirit. We must not be misled by what Satan tells us and think that we can control everything like God. We need to know the truth – same as Jesus, there is nothing we can brag about before God. Even our being able to admit our poverty of spirit would require help from the Father.
Nevertheless, Jesus has promised us that blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3). When we admit our spiritual poverty before the Father and admit there is nothing we can do, that would be the time when we can experience the coming of the Heavenly Kingdom. The sister I mentioned above has experienced the Lord’s comfort and healing. Her heart is relieved by the care of the Lord Jesus. I trust that at the time designated by God, she will no longer be jealous from the bottom of her heart.