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I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind


S: Matthew 5:38-48 You have heard that it was said: "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil, but if anyone will have struck you on your right cheek, offer to him the other also. And anyone who wishes to contend with you in judgement, and to take away your tunic, release to him your cloak also. And whoever will have compelled you for one thousand steps, go with him even for two thousand steps. Whoever asks of you, give to him. And if anyone would borrow from you, do not turn away from him. You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbour, and you shall have hatred for your enemy." But I say to you: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. And pray for those who persecute and slander you. In this way, you shall be sons of your Father, who is in heaven. He causes his sun to rise upon the good and the bad, and he causes it to rain upon the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Do not even tax collectors behave this way? And if you greet only your brothers, what more have you done? Do not even the pagans behave this way? Therefore, be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.

O: Jesus made the most counter-cultural statements. Unnatural, even, you might say. Our natural human inclination is when someone harms us, we "taro them back properly" (as the Malaysian slang goes.) Revenges is thoroughly human, not unique to Malaysians. But Jesus calls us to a higher way.

This is why we see time and time again when Christians are attacked and persecuted the world over, we follow our Lord's example on the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." It's true that many times also, Christians give in to their human nature and retaliate, but that is the way of the flesh, and not the way of the Spirit of Christ.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Meekness is not weakness -- it is strength under control. Jesus did not submit to the crucifixion because he was weak:

He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.

To give credit where credit is due, the title quote for this Life Journal entry was actually by a non-Christian, Mohandas Karamchand "Mahatma" Gandhi. He saw the oppression of the British who claimed to be Christians and said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

Unfortunately, the people who claimed to be Christians with whom he was familiar did not live according to the teachings of Christ, and in so doing, became anti-evangelists for Christ.

A: So, though it's hard and it goes against our human nature, as followers of Jesus, we are to be conduits of God's forgiveness.

P: Father, sometimes it's hard to forgive. Help me to be a conduit of Your forgiveness and love. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

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