Thursday, February 19, 2009

Word For Today

I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. — Matthew 5:39

The pastor of an inner-city church told his congregation: “Some people believe in ‘an eye for an eye.’ But in this neighborhood, it’s two eyes for an eye. You can never even the score; you can only raise the stakes.” The people nodded in solemn understanding of the reality they faced each day.

We’ve seen it happen on a school playground or in our own homes — a child bumps into another during a game. The one who was bumped pushes back, and the shoving quickly grows into a fight. It’s the process of retaliation and escalation in which each act of revenge exceeds the one that provoked it.

In Matthew 5, Jesus tackled a number of key relational issues by raising the standard to the one that pleases God: “You have heard that it was said . . . But I tell you . . .” (vv. 38-39). His words about turning the other cheek, going the second mile, and giving to those who ask may sound as radical and unrealistic to us as they did to those who first heard them (vv. 38-42). Are we willing to ponder and pray about His teaching? Are we ready to apply it when we are wronged at home, at work, or at school?

The cycle of escalation can be broken when a courageous, faith-filled person refuses to strike back. — David McCasland

Lord, help me not retaliate

When someone wants to pick a fight;

Instead, give me the strength and faith

To show Your love and do what’s right. — Sper

READ: Matthew 5:38-48

To return good for good is natural; to return good for evil is supernatural.

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