Responding In Love
" You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow." Matthew 5:38-42 (NLT)
Grant Roth is from Missouri. His older brother ran down the stairs with tears streaming from his eyes. A few seconds later Grant followed, trying to keep up with him on his little, three-year-old legs. When his brother and Grant entered the living room, their mom was startled and concerned. She asked Grant's brother, "What's wrong? Why are you crying?" His brother answered through his tears, "Grant hit me for no reason!" Before their mom had a chance to respond, Grant exclaimed, "That is not true! He is lying! I didn't hit him for no reason; I kicked him for no reason!" This story from Grant's childhood makes him laugh, but he also feels bad about the way he treated his brother. He didn't deserve it.
Sometimes we're treated in ways we don't deserve. Whether a friend abandons us, a co-worker gossips about us, a family member manipulates us, or a boss undervalues us, our tendency is to retaliate. But Jesus calls his followers to respond differently.
In today's reading, Jesus speaks about how his listeners have twisted God's words to justify revenge. But then Jesus urges his followers to respond in a different way. Even when we're treated in ways that we don't deserve, Jesus calls us to respond with love.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the way you love us. Give us the strength to respond to others with love, in Jesus' name. Amen.