A warrior or the Prince of Peace?

Posted Feb 9, 2018

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Daily Scripture

Matthew 5:38-45

38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth [Exodus 21:24]. 39 But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well. 40 When they wish to haul you to court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. 41 When they force you to go one mile, go with them two. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor [Leviticus 19:18] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you 45 so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.

Romans 12:14-21

14 Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. 16 Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. 17 Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.

18 If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. 19 Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord [Deuteronomy 32:35]. 20 Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head [Proverbs 25:21-22]. 21 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.

Reflection Questions

“Mohammed was a warrior; leading an army was one of the roles he played….The teachings of the Quran [about war and violence] stand in marked contrast to those of Jesus.” * Jesus taught his disciples to avoid hating even the Roman soldiers ruling their land. God’s spirit, he said, must be ours. “No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously” (Matthew 5:42, The Message). The apostle Paul drew on Proverbs’ wisdom to teach Christians in Rome how to meet evil. He knew hatred or violence just beget more of the same. God will deal with evil better than we ever could. So, he ended, “Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good” (verse 21).

  • Jesus set aside the model of proportional revenge set out in Exodus 21:24. He called his people to “love their neighbors” in bigger ways than anyone had dreamed of before. What ways of reacting to others might we take for granted in our culture until Jesus’ teaching calls us beyond them? When you feel like “getting even,” how can you become more like Jesus instead?
  • Review all the specific positive actions Paul recommended to the Roman Christians in Romans 12. Which one or two of them are easiest for you to live out in your day-to-day life? Which one or two of them do you find most challenging? Who have you known who lived the most consistent “Romans 12 life”? How did that person’s presence affect you and others?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you were generous and inclusive. I want to keep learning to love all people as you loved them, regardless of gender, race, nationality or religion. Amen.

* Adam Hamilton, Christianity and World Religions. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005, p. 82.

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Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group and a men’s group, and serves on the curriculum team.

Since taking the Binder for Life class offered by the Crossroads Ministry at Resurrection, lists have been on my mind.  (You took the class?  Really? – Editor.)  I know. I don’t look old enough to take such a class- DL.  (No, I meant it usually fills up quickly-Editor.)  Sigh.  Yes, it does fill up quickly because it is an excellent presentation to help you & your loved ones prepare for unexpected events, medical emergencies, etc.  And as an added bonus, I do enjoy any class that wraps up by 8:30 so I can get home & watch Matlock reruns.

Aside: Bucket Lists are all the rage with my peers.  However, we should be mindful that not everyone has the same level of excitement about a bucket list – just ask a chicken.

Of course, as I organize my vital documents & financial statements for our Binder, I thought we all could probably benefit from having a few principles to help manage our lives.

Hall-of-Fame pitcher, Satchel Paige, offered these suggestions 1:

  • Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move
  • Avoid running at all times
  • Don’t look back

Singer & Songwriter, Johnny Cash, had his daily “ToDo” List 2 which included:

  • Kiss June (His wife.)
  • Don’t Kiss Anyone Else
  • Call Mama
  • Practice Piano

In today’s passage, Paul tries to help his fellow Romans in their dealings with those with different beliefs &/or non-believers.  He suggests that we:

  • Not be aloof - join in the community, celebrate & mourn with our neighbors
  • Actively seek common ground & always try to think kindly of others
  • To always show respect for others’ beliefs

Maybe while we are forming our bucket lists, instead of just limiting our imagination to destinations & activities, we could also seek to show Christ’s love to all whom we encounter.  This old-fashioned list of beauty tips 3 that were written by a grandfather for his granddaughter might be helpful

  • For attractive lips, speak words of kindness
  • For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people
  • For poise, walk with the knowledge that you’ll never walk alone

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to finish completing an online form for my Binder - it's taking longer than expected to scroll down to the year of my birth.


1 “How to Keep Young,” Baseball Almanac, www.baseball-almanac.com (April 5, 2015)

2 Shaun Usher, Lists of Note (Chronicle Books, 2015), 67

3 “Sam Levenson Quotes,” GoodReads, www.goodreads.com (February 8, 2009)

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