It was a morning just like every other morning, but I was running a little late and decided to squeeze in a run. Off on my usual route in my neighborhood, I smiled at my fellow neighbors who were doing a little exercise to jump start the day. I turned back to head home, and an older lady was walking down the opposite side of the road. I was tired, but as I ran by her, I looked at her face and her name popped into my head. On this ordinary morning, my 1st grade teacher was walking in my neighborhood. I had a split second to decide, and not wanting our next conversation to be in heaven, I stopped running and went back to her…
In Matthew, Jesus was exhorting the people to go beyond their common knowledge of loving their neighbor. The people listening to him would have understood his example of challenging a wrong action. It made sense that there should be an equal compensation paid for a wrong. Yet, Jesus took the common belief of the day and turned it around. Instead of looking for the moment to get back at someone, He challenged the people to love in a different way. Instead of loving people who do good to you, intentionally love and pray for the people who frustrate and oppose you. The concept of “getting even” goes against God’s mandate. While it can be easy to like the people who like us, we come to know more fully Christ’s love for us when we love others even when they don’t deserve it.
Scripture: “God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, ‘Above all, keep my Sabbaths, the sign between me and you, generation after generation, to keep the knowledge alive that I am the God who makes you holy. Keep the Sabbath; it’s holy to you. Whoever profanes it will most certainly be put to death. Whoever works on it will
Scripture: “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in
Scripture: “But they, our ancestors, were arrogant; bullheaded, they wouldn’t obey your commands. They turned a deaf ear, they refuse to remember the miracles you had done for them; they turned stubborn, got it into their head to return to their Egyptian slavery. And you, a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, incredibly patient, with tons of love— you didn’t dump them. Yes, even