Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Book of Matthew: Morning Moments with God, Day 18

                              Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 18: Trust the Lord and be Free!

Please take time to read the Bible verse for the day.
Matthew 5: 38-48

Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h]39 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. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

After reading the above verse, I went ahead and read where this idea of Eye or Eye came from. It is found in Exodus 21:23. It seems to me that the punishment was to fit the crime. If someone burned a man, that man was to be burned and not killed for his crime. It reminds me of Tavia from the play, "Fiddler on the Roof" when he said, "Great! so now the whole world will be blind and toothless!" Although it seems rather harsh I bet it did the job. I'm thinking that people were apt to think before they gouged out someone else's eye, for they knew that someone would do it to them! Either way, under Jesus we are to forgive and love those that abuse and mistreat us. He is calling us to depend on His judgement. For us to depend on His care for us. We don't need to concern ourselves with the justice of it all. God sees what violence has been committed against us and He will make things right. He is calling us to trust Him more. 

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. It is of the world to hate your enemy. "He hates me, so I hate him" - it fits and it allows us to move on with our lives- but there is no challenge in it. It is easy to 'cut' someone out of our lives and never have to deal with them again, but God is calling us to be changed. He is calling us to love everyone. 

I remember when I was a freshman in college I had been so hurt by one of my sisters that I decided the only thing to do was to never talk her again. It may sound ridiculous, but I had no idea how to get her back for all the years of pain she had caused me. She had been horrible to me my whole life and as growing adults, she continued her evil ways. I won't get into the details of how her meanness extended into our adult lives, but suffice it to say, one day she stormed into my college classroom, created a scene, yelled at my professor, and stole my vehicle-abandoning me on my campus. She never thought about how she appeared or how much she humiliated me in front of my classmates and teacher. She never thought that one day I might stand up to her and refuse to be abused. Sadly, I lived as if she were dead. She was shocked.  I didn't acknowledge her presence any longer. It went on for weeks. On the one hand, I was set free from living under her constant abuse, but on the other hand, it ached me inside to be so horrible. My family was pretty shocked too. They had never seen me so hurt. For years I watched her get away with the most wicked schemes-there was never any justice in my home. Then one day, one of my older sisters who heard about what happened came to me and told me about Matthew 5:44. I cried and cried. It was painful to think that I had to love her AND pray for her. I was a baby Christian, at the time, and knew that this was the challenge God had for me to be separate from the world. I had to trust Him with my heart. I had to trust Him with the justice I wanted for my sister. I have actually cried over this Scripture many times in my life- mostly over pain and hurt caused by my own family. We are called to this, no matter how hard it is. We are called to love.

The Dictionary defines the word enemy as, "one that is antagonistic to another; especially :  one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent." Take time to think about someone in your own life that has been an 'enemy' to you. Release this person to the Lord. Forgive them, love them in your heart and pray for them. 

Pray with me:
Father, thank you for loving us so much that you want us to live in freedom. Thank you that you make a way for us to drop our pain and anger, and hurt into your lap so we can go on to love others. Thank you that you are our judge and you will take care of the injustices in our lives. Thank you that we don't need to think of ways to get people back for what they have done to us. Thank you for the freedom to live and love others and trust you! Father, help me to forgive all my 'enemies' with a whole heart. Help me to love as you love. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

No comments:

Post a Comment