[Jesus said,]â€œYou have heard that it was said, â€˜Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, â€˜Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.â€™ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Matthew 5:38-48 (NIV)
If I think I can live my life without the Holy Spirit’s help, the last sentence corrected my thinking! â€œBe perfect!â€ Jesus sets the standard. He is compassionate. He came to save me and show me how to live my life here in the time I am given. Jesus does not wink at my sins. He doesn’t condemn and beat me up when I do sin. He is here when I ask Him to forgive me and then shows me the better way.
This journey is the Good News story that Jesus wants me to share with others. This is the Good News that Jesus is intimately involved in our lives. He saw each one of us from the cross and said, â€œI want them with us forever, Father. It is finished.â€ And when He rose from the dead, the keys of any hell that the enemy would try to lure me towards is in Jesus’ hands and I am free. Good News.
On first thought, I deny that I have enemies. I think of an enemy as someone with whom I am at war. I haven’t declared war on anyone. But then the Holy Spirit comes in and recalls to my mind thoughts and actions that are falling ‘way short from where Jesus wants me to live. What do I think and say about people that I put into the â€œterrorist groupâ€? What do I think when I hear that someone drank and drove their car and killed someone?
Jesus does mention any exceptions. Jesus says I am to love my enemies. If they take advantage of me, take the high road and walk out Jesus’ example. Jesus cannot be out-given. He shows me how He won disciples with Hi love. He drew the people in because He taught with truth, never lowering His standard, but giving of Himself and with much love and forgiveness.
Jesus gives us the metaphors of Father and children, Bride and Bridegroom so that we can meet at a point of reference to begin to understand the breadth and depth of His love. Jesus wants us to learn His love so that we may give it away â€“ to our family, friends, and enemies. No one is left out except the one who is Jesus’ enemy. Satan is His enemy because Satan chose to be.
Let us spend time this weekend considering how Jesus fulfilled God’s Law. Allow His words to take root in our hearts and teach us how to be more like Him. May we truly see how His lessons will impact our lives and obediently live in God’s will in all things, perfect as He is perfect.