Sunday, January 6, 2013
Steps We Take, Vows We Don't ***
S. Matthew 5: 27 - 48
O: Jesus concludes the teaching he began in the previous scripture reading. Once again, it is his words and his alone.
A: The second half of this teaching reinforces my application from yesterday. It’s not just the act that we must avoid. All the steps that lead up to that act are also crucial to avoid. Each step is as if we’re following through with the act itself. This is a huge advancement in thinking about how we interact with others before interaction even begins. The way in which we think and feel about others is crucial not just our words and our actions.
Then, Jesus talks about ending all vows, as these vows place us in a precarious position with God and his judgment of our completion of those vows. This is another huge step into separating what we do from what we wish to do. What we do is much more important than what we say we’re going to do. If we must say something, just say “Yes, I will” or “No, I won’t.” Vowing to do anything sets us up for failure, and we do not need to add any additional sins or failures throughout our existence.
Next, Jesus talks of another huge leap in thinking and being. Leaving behind the “eye for an eye” mentality and transforming our interactions by turning the other cheek instead. When we are wronged, don’t fight or resist. To react otherwise could once again add more layers of sins and failures to the situation. I don’t believe this is in reference to when our life is at risk; instances where our life is on the line are few. Mostly, it is our ego that is on the line, and we should not fear damage to our ego.
Once again, Jesus takes this further by saying we should love our enemies. We should thank those who persecute us. We can show a better way of being by doing so. By doing so, we transform a situation, potentially transforming those within the situation.
Being kind to our family and friends is easy and really holds little transformative potential for the world. Being kind to your enemies or those in which you have profound disagreement, that is where all the potential for transformation may be discovered.
Finally, Jesus exposes that we are indeed to be as perfect as God. We were made in his image, and we are perfect. When we interact with anyone, we should see them similarly.
P: May I have the strength to avoid taking any internal steps to harm of another. May I love those who would persecute me. May I embody the perfection that is God.
Next Scripture Matthew 6 : 1 - 18