Matthew 5:7-10 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The patterns we learn when we are young, often stay with us throughout our lives. This is one reason why what parents do is so important. For they are the ones who teach us to trust in God and to rely on Jesus our Savior. If we aren’t taught this, and reminded regularly of all the gospel promises, we are liable to do something else. In a perfect world, there would be no problems, but this world is not perfect.

So the real questions is how do you cope with problems? Someone is teasing you, what do you do? Crying makes it worse. Running away doesn’t help. Do you tease back – do you begin teasing others before they begin to tease you – do you become a bully so that people stop teasing you – do you learn to fight, so you can beat them up – what do you do?

And that points to the problem, because what we want is something we can do – and so we often forget to turn to God until we’ve done everything we can [and made a mess of things]. We’re afraid to turn to God, in part because we know that part of his answer is to turn the other cheek, and to forgive – and we don’t want to turn the other cheek, and we don’t want to forgive. And that’s why God have us parents so they could teach us these things, and show us that God’s way is the only way that things will ever get better.

God blesses us in many ways. In our text, some of the blessings of God are listed. When God makes us a new creation in and through Baptism, in that new creation, there are these blessings built in – God changes us so that we are: meek, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, people who hunger and thirst for righteousness – and then having giving us these gifts, he also gives us the opportunity to use them.

Those opportunities often begin as persecution. Persecution is not pleasant, but if we don’t rely on ourselves, if we turn to God, if we use his gifts – it won’t change it into a good thing, but God can make a bad thing turn out for good, for us, and hopefully also for the people who persecute us. Because if we can reach them with the love of God that is ours in Jesus Christ, God can change them, turn them from sinners into saints, make them a new creation – and while that is good for God and good for them, it is also good for us, because the change will also take away the one who torments us, and give us a new brother or sister in Christ.