What if the Beatitudes, the famous “Blessed are they . . ” statements found in Matthew 5, were written with choice theory in mind? While preparing to teach a class whose topics for the period included the Beatitudes, a class in the process of considering scripture from a choice theory perspective, I made an attempt at re-writing them from the viewpoint of mental health. The Amplified Bible, instead of using the phrase “Blessed are they . . “, uses phrases like “Happy are they . .” or “To be envied are those . . ” or “Spiritually prosperous are those . . ” I remember hearing a talk on the Beatitudes where the speaker explained that the word Blessed, as used by Jesus to open his hillside sermon, actually means Happy in the broadest sense. So in the spirit of considering the Beatitudes from a choice theory perspective . . .
Mentally healthy are those who recognize their need for God.
Mentally healthy are those who recognize the needs of others around them and who ache for their healing – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Mentally healthy are those who are gentle; who do not seek power for personal advantage; who understand that the only person I can (need to, should) control is myself; who understand the value of every human being.
Mentally healthy are those who crave what is good and just, and who seek justice on behalf of those who are less able to seek it for themselves.
Mentally healthy are those who accept others and who live forgivingly.
Mentally healthy are those who are fresh and clean and who breath Heaven’s air, rather than the vice and impurity of this present world; who are free to seek happiness, rather than addicted to pursuing pleasure.
Mentally healthy are those who desire peace; who are willing to give up pieces of what they want; who seek other’s success; who live win/win.
Mentally healthy are those who value doing right so much that they are willing to be mistreated and abused for its sake.
May each of us experience sound mental health today. As Paul reminds us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7