Thursday, April 23, 2015

At the risk of cold...

At the risk of cold...

We hate being done wrong. I know I do. (I often wonder do I hate doing wrong as much as I hate being done wrong...hmmmm...let's think about that later.)

Jesus tells us how to handle "wicked" people who do us wrong. In Matthew 5:38, Jesus says (my paraphrase), "You've been told it's right to practice revenge when you've been done wrong."

Then, Jesus says, "But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also." (Matthew 5:39 NLT) Does this mean we are to never defend ourselves? Does this mean we are to never speak out or stand up?

It does not mean that at all. Jesus flips the script on revenge, but He does not toss out the common sense of defense. Nor should we.

Still, what Jesus does do is do away with the false understanding that we are pay back evil with equal evil. Actually, we aren't to do ANY EVIL, even payback evil.

What Jesus does say is this: "If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too." (Matthew 5:40 NLT)

Should we defend ourselves from continuing injury? Yes.
Should we pay back evil with evil? No.
Is Jesus saying that where we can endure pain, we are to do so? It seems He is.
Is He saying where we are able to meet wickedness with generosity, we should? I think so.

See, friend, this runs counter to our nature. It runs counter to our culture. We are often too busy grabbing matching cloaks for each outfit to even think of giving one away under good circumstances, not less under difficult circumstances.

I love Matthew Henry's comments on Matthew 5:38-42; he says, "The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord's keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort." (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary)

At the risk of being cold, I'd like to inherit the Kingdom of God, please. Lord, help me live YOUR higher laws and ways even as I am constrained in the lesser laws of this world.

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