Sunday, February 25, 2007

Waging Peace

Reading for today--for this Sunday, but more, for this challenging time. . .

Matthew 5:38-48

Love Your Enemies

38-42"Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

43-47"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

[The Message Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson]


syvess24 said...

This is a beautiful piece of scripture, and to put it into modern English terms really helps us understand what it should mean to us. We live in a world that is cruel and unjust. The poor suffer because the rich succeed. Who is in the wrong? No one can truly tell because we all come with our own biases and prejudices, whether we mean to or not. We tend to consider ourselves as the unfortunate ones who need the shirt from someone else's back. I think we do this because we do not wish to admit that we are unwilling to help our fellow man. We want to be the poor man so that we can have everything given to us,as the scriptures tell us, and we think that what we do already have is ours, rightly deserved and not for anyone else to have. The problem is that everyone thinks this. If everyone thinks this, then how can we decide who is supposed to give to the poor? What we need is to get over our "pity me" attitudes and start seeing our true purposes, to live for God and give all we can to help others. It does not matter who has more or less. What matters is that we do as God would have us do and love our neighbors, whoever they may be.

Anonymous said...

God is Awesome, and in His greatness and our human imperfections He acknowledged that we will in fact have enemies. It is human to have undesirable relationships with other humans, God allows us to experience that, and our everyday life is surrounded with evidence of this. We are so blessed to be given the instructions to turn our other cheek and treat our enemies with compassion. Whatever the situation, this entry is advice that can be applied in all walks of life to improve our relationships with God and others.