Friday, July 14, 2006

Suffering Afflictions and Going the Second Mile

Funny how Christ sometimes seems to interject himself into the Round Table discussion. Yesterday while seeking for something to say about the comments from the Jerusalem Post, I was naturally drawn to Matthew 5:39 and 5:44. I actually wrote a few words, but they seemed inadequate to the size of the issue, so I deleted them from the post, hoping one of you could make a more valiant volley.

Well, Sir Oswald Chambers made that volley today in his devotional. "I couldn't have said it better..."

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

This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian. In the natural realm, if a person does not hit back, it is because he is a coward. But in the spiritual realm, it is the very evidence of the Son of God in him if he does not hit back. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus— it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, "Do your duty," but is, in effect, "Do what is not your duty." It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things. We will not say, "Oh well, I just can’t do any more, and I’ve been so misrepresented and misunderstood." Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God, while in fact I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I will take the blow myself. That is the real meaning of filling "up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ . . ." ( Colossians 1:24 ). A disciple realizes that it is his Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor.

Never look for righteousness in the other person, but never cease to be righteous yourself. We are always looking for justice, yet the essence of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is— Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.

2 comments:

  1. Great thoughts, Sir Chuck.

    I often tell people "I don’t want justice; I want mercy." Which is very true. If we all got what we deserved, it would be death. As the bible says, "the wages of sin is death."

    On the other hand, misplaced mercy can be a terrible thing. For example, letting a convicted murderer out or prison, who then murders someone else. It may be merciful to the convict but a terrible injustice to the victim.

    Somewhere there is a golden mean and the wisdom to know when mercy is required and when justice is required. God makes is simple; those who believe on Jesus get mercy while those who don’t get justice.

    Sir John, the muser.

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  2. Great thoughts, Sir Chuck.

    Wish they were mine, but Oswald Chambers was given that inspiration.

    On your second paragraph, I'm reading Ann Coulter's book "Godless" (it was given to me for my birthday) and the third chapter is filled with examples of just this, as an example of why liberal mercy parading as justice can cause a great deal of harm.

    She writes a book filled with insight on the impact of liberal thought on our society. Unfortunately, it's written in such a hateful, sarcastic style that the book will be ignored by those who most need to read it...

    God makes is simple; those who believe on Jesus get mercy while those who don’t get justice.

    Well mused...

    Sir C

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