MATTHEW 5:44_But I say unto you, love your enemies…
Jesus continually points out love as an action.
Love requires dedication.
Love requires courage.
Love requires grit to accept rejection, but not be defeated.
Love requires faith in Jesus’ radical teachings to work.
If love requires all this of me, I want my love to go to the one of my choosing. The object of my affection. Here we go again! Jesus messes with my heart and mind when He says love my enemies. I don’t want to love my enemies! They are my enemies! I don’t like them! They cause me pain and suffering. They cause people I love pain and suffering. If God won’t let me seek revenge on them – at least let me hate them!
Besides, there is another problem – I don’t know how to love them. It doesn’t come naturally to me to love people who hurt me or people I love. Jesus asks too much.
In all my moaning and groaning, I use the key (the Bible). It unlocks my spirit, then I can trust in Philippians 4:13 (KJV), “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Lord Jesus, I don’t know how to love my enemies, help me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ strengthens me—I can achieve anything with Him!
MATTHEW 5:39_but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
If someone slaps you in the face, turn so they can do it again. What? No way! Jesus couldn’t possibly mean that! Where’s the balance?
There are more ways to be slapped than just physical. The pain of words is one – don’t want to be on the receiving end of that unbridled anger. An arrogant attitude is another – treated like you’re less than stupid. In whatever form the slap comes, Jesus has already taught not to seek revenge. Now does He say to let yourself be slapped again? That doesn’t make sense.
The teachings of Jesus can be radical – way radical! These law transformations are when Jesus is at His topsy-turvy best. His teaching appears to be wrong, maybe even crazy. A heart that has not been or is not being changed will find them to be just that – crazy!
Jesus has set a stage. Take a seat and enjoy the show. This is a play about a good guy who is injured by an evil bully. The bully is motivated by jealousy and envy. The good guy’s injury causes hardships in his life. The good guy looks for help but no one rushes to his rescue. Everyone fears the bully.
The good guy’s help comes from Jesus’ 180 degree turn.
Lord of Lords, You want to rescue me from the devil’s evil deeds. Help me make the turns I need to make. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s love knows when to turn—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:39_But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil…
Resist not evil sounds odd. After all, wouldn’t you want to resist evil whenever it came your way?
The word resist here can be translated, to withstand; oppose. Again, that sounds like the right way to handle evil. If evil comes at me, I intend to oppose it.
So, why is the word not a part of this teaching? Does Jesus say not to fight evil? Let evil have its own way? It could almost sound like Jesus is in favor of evil. Since that isn’t true, it could only be one thing – scale balancing. Justice and mercy do not balance without Jesus’ input.
If you’ve been treated wrong in a way that is not an actual crime, you won’t run to the court for help. If you are transforming into a salty-lit-up disciple, you’ll run to Jesus for help. He tells you not to plan a revenge plot. Jesus wants you to resist that temptation.
Something just doesn’t seem right. The only way it can be right is if Jesus beats up your enemy, right? That’s how to balance the scales!
So, what would Jesus do?
The answer to that question is phenomenal!! Jesus transforms the whole revenge thing.
King of Kings, Please change my heart so it seeks mercy more than revenge. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ balances the heart—He will balance mine!
MATTHEW 5:38_Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
This is a law transformation – big time! The Law said if someone were to blind your eye, you could blind their eye. It also said that if someone were to knock out your tooth, you could knock out their tooth. In the Old Testament this was justice. The truth is, most people like this kind of justice. It satisfies. Nobody gets by with anything.
If you’ve gained some insights over the past several months, it’s when Jesus begins a teaching with “Ye have heard that it hath been said”—He is about to transform that!
The Great Balancer wants balance between justice and revenge. There is a place in the world for justice, the judicial system. The Bible says there is only one place for revenge – in God’s hands. Romans 12:19 (KJV), “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’”
God only, gets to decide if revenge is appropriate. If so, He carries it out. God carries revenge out in His way, and only His way. He carries it out in His time, and only His time.
Because of hard hearts, it is always best to let God decide how to deal with any kind of revenge.
Blessed Savior, Help me leave revenge in Your hands. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ balances revenge and mercy—I don’t know how!