Beyond Getting Even (Ortberg)
Have you ever walked into a room and can't remember why you went into the room? Or have you ever listened to someone talking and then forgot what they just did? When we fall into a routine, the danger is sometimes that our mind dismisses itself. When we say the Lord's Prayer, this sometimes happens. John Ortberg, at http://www.mppcfamily.org/app/w_page.php, stops at "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" saying this is tough. Are we willing to delve into this and abide by it? We have heard it said in Exodus 21, "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth". Why would the Bible say this? Well, you have to go back to the times. Recently, there was a man who was blocking another car in and a guy came out with a gun and shot him! Imagine a world in the ancient days that would not prevent something like this from happening. There were no police and society lived by a sense of equality of pain. Look at the scenario where Mom has a baby and a 5 year old boy named Billy. Mom hears a scream and Billy says that the baby pulled his hair and he's mad. Mom explains that the baby doesn't know any better and doesn't know that pulling hair hurts. A few minutes later, there's another scream. Now the baby knows. But, an important oversight is that the pain that we feel is always worse than what we inflict on others. There was actually an experiment where the candidates were asked to apply pressure to a machine that was equal to the pressure the machine applied to them. In every case, the candidates pressed harder! Paul writes, don't repay evil with evil. On the contrary, we repay evil with kindness as Jesus said. But sometimes, the words of Jesus are misunderstood. We are not to be doormats. Jesus was actually referring to some concrete examples that could easily be misinterpreted in our time. Jesus says, "You have heard eye for and eye, but instead, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn your other cheek." Jesus is not saying to let yourself get beaten up. He specifically referred to the right cheek. Well, back in the time, the left hand was considered unclean. The greatest insult was a back-handed slap to the right cheek and it was normally reserved for slaves and disobedient children. If this happened, people usually had a couple of options, to strike back or cower. "Your safety and your honor are in the hands of your Heavenly Father" We, as Christ followers, can humble ourselves and get creative for resolve. If someone is suing us for our shirt, Jesus says to give our cloak also. This can be interpreted as meaning that the person suing probably didn't have any money. They were probably suing out of desparation. Back then, a cloak was typically given as collateral for borrowed money. This is a compassionate command. Jesus says, if anyone forces you to go one mile, go two with them. Israel is occupied territory by the Romans. Romans could force any inhabitants to carry their armor for a mile. Jesus said carry it two. But think about it. The Roman was hated, resented and even threatened. They were dehumanized and far from home or any compassion because of their role. Life was tough for them, too. Jesus was saying to show compassion! If a beggar comes to you for money, Jesus says to ask how we can help. Give mercy to the hopeless. Give them truth, confrontation and whatever would help them most. But don't turn troubled people away! "You have heard it said, "love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your Father in Heaven." Even God sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Of all the characteristics of a person, what is the number one reason that most people are drawn to another. The number one thing is the fact that the person likes you! Try to not like someone who likes you. It's tough! Is it possible that the "love your enemies" line had this insight? There was never anyone as amazing as Jesus. The fulfillment of the prophesy by him was his having to turn his cheek when the soldiers slapped and beat him. When he was being prepared for the cross, his clothes were taken and gambled off. When he carried his cross, the soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross with him. This is the man we follow. We may have to humble ourselves, but at the cross it stops. We can take it to the man who lived it out for us. Be creative in the service of the good. We can partner with Jesus, in His wisdom, to serve.
Created over 5 years ago