Matthew 5:38-42. Revenge's End 14 Jan 2023
Mat 5:38 You have heard how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. 39 But I say this to you: offer no resistance to the wicked. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; 40 if someone wishes to go to law with you to get your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him. 42 Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.
The 'You have heard how it was said', was spoken to our ancestors. Jesus speaks afresh, in new ways.
1. Offer no resistance. Offering resistance is very exhausting. It does not build friendship. It does little good. My resistance might be fear for the unknown. It is better to figure out what I am afraid of. Then I will be free to change direction. I no more have to wrestle with wicked influences that disturb me. Psychologists speak about anxious thoughts. And perhaps my enemies are more in my mind than anywhere else.
2. Overcome your fears. One mile? Try two miles. And perhaps you make a new friend.
3. One cheek? Face him the other cheek. Face him. Face the evil. It is not worth to be afraid of.
4. Give anyone who asks. Do not deny someone. Live with trust.
No, it is not easy. Jesus bends estranging revenge to connecting love. Yes, we will regularly be disappointed.
One problem is that I follow Jesus grudgingly and resistantly. I am invited to follow with a gentle and loving heart.
Thanks for all the opportunities in life.
My fears are plenty. My anxieties need to be replaced by new thinking.