Scripture: Jesus said, “ . . .the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives,
but to save them.” Luke 9:56, NKJV
It hath been
said, “Don’t get mad - get even.” Ah! Sweet revenge! “Do unto
others if they do it to you - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
Jesus spoke about retaliation in the Sermon
on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew 5:38, adding, in effect, ‘But if
you follow My teaching, you won’t act like that.’ Rather, His disciples
are to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies.
Why? “That you may be (children)
of your Father in heaven.” (Mt. 5:45)
Think about that in terms of an earthly family. Parents
are responsible for providing for their children’s welfare. Children are
to be obedient, and are under the authority of a parent or guardian until
the age of majority, the age at which full civil rights are accorded.
At what point in our Christian journey, then, do we
grow up enough that we cease to be “children” of God? Is there
a time when we can presume to become independent of God, a time when we can
literally ‘take over the business,’ and run things our own way?
I bring up this point to invite you to consider how
we should react to some of the challenges that we encounter as Christians.
When people say bad things about Christianity, about religion in general,
or take God’s name in vain, the urge to retaliate is very real.
There have been periods in history where the overly
zealous attempted to advance the cause of the church at the point of the sword.
In essence, some have said, “If you don’t love God, I’ll kill you.”
My chosen scripture verse speaks to the point of treatment
of those who reject The Christ. Jesus’ disciples wanted to command
fire to come down from heaven and consume those people (Samaritans)
who did not receive Him. (Lk. 9:51-56)
Jesus said, “No!”
If it is not the purpose of the Son of Man (Christ)
to destroy such people, then what are we to do?
We are to love God, and our neighbor as ourselves.
Who is our neighbor?
All people- for all belong
to God. That includes those we might consider to be enemies. “Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Mt.
Children of God are not in a position of greater
authority to change that teaching.
When disciples pray, “Your
will be done” (Lord’s Prayer) Christians indicate submission
to the dominion and authority of God in their lives.
(Quotations from the NKJV)
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