Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mercy for all.

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
(Matthew 5:38-42)

The phrase "eye for an eye" meant under Hebrew law that if damages were incurred due to a person's action or negligence, that person would be required to undergo penalties equal to the damages incurred. This law limited the penalty so that they were equal to the action committed. This was a huge step in ancient law because normally the penalties were far greater than the crime. You could say the the law permitted no more than an eye for an eye.
That was a huge step forward in criminal justice for these ancient people.
Now Jesus comes along and says that in order to be a follower of his, you gave to avoid seeking retribution at all, forgive, and give more than you originally had been forced give. Jesus expects his followers to be merciful and forgiving.
If we were all to actually follow this law of Jesus, we would have no more fighting, no more killing, no more hate, etc, and this life on earth would be a paradise. Isn't that what we are wanting to happen after we die? Don't we expect to go to a place where everyone loves; a place of peace and beauty?
The question I ask is how will we live in a paradise after we die, when we have not begun to learn how to live like that in this world? How will we be able to have a relationship with God after we die, if we have not begun to establish it here? Will we somehow be changed after we die? Maybe so. However, it occurs to me that we have to begin practicing the love here on Earth, during our lifetime. No, earthly life is not and never will be a paradise. There are many trials and tribulations that we will face during our lifetime. But it is in this lifetime that we learn to love God and be merciful to one another. We will not be perfect at it, but we can at least make the effort to live in God's paradise now, and rely on God to do the rest.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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