Sapphire Sky

October 26, 2018

What did Jesus say about Revenge?

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 1:46 am

abandoned ancient antique architecture

Thoughts from the Sermon on the Mount …

 

I like to watch hockey. Where else can you see people crash into each other at high speeds, regularly, repeatedly, for over an hour every night? And all for the goal to get this tiny, heavy puck into the other team’s net.

One of the tactics of the game is to antagonize the other players. Players use verbal insults, badgering, legal and illegal hits to get their opponents to focus on them instead of the game. When you get your rival angry enough to think about fighting you instead of playing their game, you have a much better chance of winning.

But the same thing happens at every game. The final period ends. The clock runs out and everyone goes home. It is just a game.

In real life, though, it is too easy to get caught up in revenge. When we are insulted, hurt, or otherwise offended, our first thought is to fight back. We need to “get even” for what they did to us.

And the conflict always escalates. You hit them once, they hit you back twice. They hit your arm, you hit their face. We see this on the road every day. One driver is too slow so another driver cuts them off. A small driving mishap can quickly turn into a deadly “road rage” incident.

We assure ourselves that we would never go as far as what we hear about in the news. We could never do the horrible deeds committed by these road warriors! But at our core, we are all like that. We all want revenge when someone hurts us. We all want to see our enemies suffer.

In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has been teaching about the law. He did not come to do away with the law. Instead, He has been using illustrations to show that we should hold to a much higher standard than what has been written down (see here).

Now, His final two examples are about revenge and how to treat our enemies.

These are some of Jesus’ most famous words. Even those who don’t know the Bible, who may have no interest in Jesus Christ, tend to know that He said to “love your enemies.” Even if they don’t know what it means, most people have heard the quote to “turn the other cheek.”

These are some of the easiest words to remember, but some of the hardest commands to obey. But what was Jesus saying?

Was He teaching that, like Ghandi, we should use passive resistance?

Was he teaching that we should all be easy targets for any predators that may come

Should we be pacifists? Abandon the police force?

Should we (as many people do) simply ignore what He says?

Jesus teaches that, when confronted by persecution, we need to surrender our rights and to love our enemies.

How can we do that?

(more…)

October 5, 2018

What did Jesus say about Honesty?

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 12:50 am

achievement adult agreement arms

Thoughts from the Sermon on the Mount …

 

When is it ok to lie?

Should you always be honest about everything?

We all know about little “white lies”, when a small lie seems harmless and the actual truth may not be well received.

Jesus takes time in the middle of His great sermon to talk about honesty.

Jesus has been teaching about the law in the Sermon on the Mount. He showed that God’s law is not simply a list of do’s and don’ts, it is a relationship with Him (see here). He then uses a series of examples to show that there is a much higher standard than the written law if we are to be His followers, and part of His kingdom.

He starts with the example of murder. You cannot say you are a good person, simply because you never murdered anyone. Even hatred, anger, and broken relationships leave you guilty before God (see here).

The next example is adultery. It is not just the physical act of adultery, but any lustful thought leaves you guilty before God (see here).

Jesus follows the example of adultery with the example of divorce. Marriage is holy and honorable before God. It is not to broken by unfaithfulness, nor by divorce. Simple legal proceedings do not entitle you to separate from your spouse, and any such actions leave you guilty of both your own and your spouse’s unfaithfulness (see here).

Jesus then uses the next example to warn His listeners about taking an oath. At a first glance, this is not the example that we would expect to follow. Jesus has been talking about serious issues: murder, adultery, divorce, … now oaths? How can this be as serious as the others?

But taken from another perspective, Jesus is not teaching about rituals but about our character. He is not giving new rules to govern murder but He is teaching that we must show forgiveness. He is not giving new rules to govern adultery but He is teaching that we must show purity. He is not giving new rules to govern marriage but He is teaching that we must show faithfulness.

And finally, He is not giving new rules to govern how to give oaths but He is teaching that we must show honesty.

Matthew 5:33-37
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

(more…)

Blog at WordPress.com.