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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
February 19, 2011
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.
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.
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.
Matthew 5:38-48 (Message*)
As kingdom subjects we're expected to live a lot differently than people customarily do in the world. It doesn't come naturally to our worldly selves to not hit back, be generous to those demanding things of us and to love our enemies. But this is our call as followers of Jesus Christ.
If we try to do this in our own wills, we'll fall flat on our faces. But we're not asked to do it in our own wills. Rather, Christ wants to live within us so that our actions come out of His spirit. And these things come naturally to Christ.
So, dear friends, allow Christ's spirit to permeate you, changing you from the inside out. This is the way to Live out your God-created identity.
* The Message version © by Eugene H. Peterson.
©2011 Friends in Christ, Inc.
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Document last modified on Saturday, 26-Feb-2011 20:07:21 EST