Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Give Us Free!

Jesus is putting down his magnum opus on the mountainside and he’s dropping all kinds of heat rocks on folk. Some of it is just wonderfully beautiful… like the beatitudes.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth”
- Matthew 5: 3-5

Aww that’s so nice…

But then there is stuff like this:

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. – Matthew 5:21

And this:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. – Matthew 5:27-29

Good gracious.

How do we make sense of this? I mean geez. I can’t even look at a beautiful woman without plucking my eye out?


Well for better or worse this is how I see these passages. What Jesus is saying to me here is that it is important that we move to a new level. Israel was given laws to govern behavior. Jesus is taking things a step further; he is revealing to us the condition of our hearts, minds and spirits.

Have you ever been really mad at someone? Say there is a person that you feel did you some injustice. They never apologized or even acknowledged it. They just kept it pushin.

What do you do?

Odds are this person goes on living their life without a wisp of a concern for whatever you think they did. But you hold on to it and all it does is eat you up inside. Maybe it was a friend who betrayed your trust and now you don’t feel that you can trust another person anymore. Maybe it was a significant other, a parent, a stranger. As long as we hold onto this anger, we are not free to fully enjoy life and the people that fill it. We miss out on the everyday joy of friendship, family and love.

By pointing out these things and others Jesus is telling me here that yes our actions are important, but every action first originates from within.
In this way, the Sermon on the Mount is the ultimate liberation text. He is showing us the example for what it means to live a life of freedom by living a life of love.

More on this in the days to come…

(Side note: Microsoft grammar check informed me that I was wrong when I did not capitalize Sermon on the Mount… Ok Mr. Gates… My bad sir.)

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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