February 09, 2022
This past weekend Pastor Chris taught us out of Matthew 5:38-42. In this scripture Jesus talks about retaliation. He says, “You have heard it said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth…”. That sounds about right to us. I bet nobody taught you to retaliate. When you were little and your brother pulled your hair I’ll bet that you whipped right around and pulled his right back. When you’re hit, your gut reaction is to hit back. It’s innate in us and yet here in this scripture Jesus doesn’t tell us to hit back. In fact, he says, “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. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” Say what?
As human beings that goes against our very nature, but as Christians, isn’t that what we are supposed to do? In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are told that we are a new creation, the old is gone. We are supposed to look different from the world. Jesus came to make us new and with that we are to walk in newness of life. That means that when the world and our nature say to retaliate, the Holy Spirit that lives within us should give us pause. This doesn’t mean it’s easy to turn the other cheek, it just means it’s right.
As a young divorced mother, I often went toe to toe with my ex-husband. If I didn’t like what he fed my boys I was going to let him know it. If I wasn’t parenting the way he liked, he was going to let me know it. For years we went round and round. It was exhausting. Then I became a Christian. I surrendered my life to Jesus and with that I surrendered the old relationships, the old disappointments and the old fighting and bickering. I decided that the only person I was able to change was myself. I began really focusing on my relationship with the Lord and listening to the Holy Spirit in me. After some time had passed, I realized one day that the fighting with my ex had stopped. I hadn’t really been trying to stop fighting with him, but I had really been trying to focus on Jesus. Over time it became easier to let him parent the way he was going to and even get to a point where I could understand his point of view even if he would never understand mine.
My boys grew up in a family where even though we didn’t agree on everything, both of their parents were able to be there for them. We could all be in the same place for birthdays and special events. That’s pretty rare, we didn’t look like most divorced families, but that’s what Christ is calling us to… a rare life.
Can you imagine the response if the next time someone provoked you, you decided to walk away? Do it. I dare you to be rare!
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