Our tendency is to repay people for any negative words or harmful actions, but Jesus taught quite the opposite. The way of the kingdom is counter-cultural and yet life-giving.
Don’t give others what they deserve; give them what they need.
WHEN THEY DESERVE PAYBACK (5:38-42)
- Jesus values justice, but He doesn’t expect us to be responsible for it.
- If we cannot transcend above juvenile retaliation, we reveal the grace of Jesus has yet to transform us thoroughly.
- Don’t just do what the law requires; do what grace enables.
WHEN THEY DESERVE PERSECUTION (5:43-47)
- My reaction to persecution reveals if I want retribution for me more than I desire salvation for them.
- There’s never been a person in history who loved God before God loved him/her.
- If I am to share His love with others, I must initiate it because they will never deserve it.
- Even unreligious people can love others who are for them; Christians are called even to love those against them.
WHEN THEY DESERVE PERFECTION (5:48)
- Jesus’ call for perfection (τέλειοι) is accurately understood as a plea for growing maturity.
- If you’ve experienced complete redemption, don’t settle for partial transformation.
- Perfection is impossible, but progression is attainable.
Would Jesus say you are making progress in your spiritual life right now?