“Treat me with injustice and let mercy triumph, treat me with unfairness and let love cover a multitude of sins”…..Dan Mohler on the topic of looking like Jesus.
This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes. Ecclesiastes 7:29
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
In my previous blog I pointed out the command God gave us to love, and how this command is in direct relation to the capacity He has given us to love and be loved. The idea of having an immense capacity for greatness, being destined for good works, is one that has always fascinated me. We are constantly challenged by our humanity. We were taught in church that when we were born we were born into sin, and as a result we have a propensity for sin from birth and are inherently predisposed to live in the guilt that sin brings. In Matthew, Jesus encourages us to be perfect just as the Father is perfect. If we were evil in nature and origin it would’ve been ambiguous for Him to say we could be perfect. “Perfect” here refers to doing good in the face of persistent adversity, to turn the other cheek, to give to those who ask of you, even to those who would spitefully use you. Perfect , as the Father is perfect, is allowing ourselves to walk in the vast love He has given us the capacity for. The good works God reminds us of is not a method for us to gain mercy so we can be liberated from the punishment sinful ways bring. The urging on to perfection is the reminder to look like the Father, to operate like Him and to think like Him. This means God doesn’t command us to be perfect, but rather it is Him reiterating His essential purpose for us. He isn’t commanding us to become something that we are not, He is merely reminding us of who we are. He created us good, and for good works. He created us to be kind and compassionate to one another, to bear one another up and to call each one of us to identify with the stature of Christ.
My husband and I have adopted a way of managing conflict in our lives that to others seems like utter passivity. Matthew 5 has become our go-to reference in the face of adversity. One night while driving home from a movie he was the victim of an attempted smash and grab. A man came out from under a bridge, broke the car window on the driver’s side and attempted to grab Carlo’s phone. His response was to calmly ask the guy what he thought he was doing. There was no fear in his heart for his own safety, he merely sought to have a chat with the guy. Having grown up in SA I personally couldn’t understand his calm and assumed my husband had lost it due to trauma and shock. I can honestly say he didn’t even break a sweat wondering about the “what if’s.” He is the type of guy who would also offer you his shoes while you steal the shirt off his back. This is such a testimony of having a heart for people in the midst of them having ill intent towards you. It is the heart of God, a heart that makes you go the extra mile and give of yourself till it seems ridiculous.
Mathew 5:39 – 40 but I say unto you, resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man would go to law with thee, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
We have heard every side of every argument about how we should stand up for ourselves and have our say in situations where people do us in. Yet I am constantly reminded of Love calling me to be greater than my need for significance and to be right. We need to value our connection with people more that being right, and specifically more than the “things” in our lives. Our most pressing motive should be to convince every person we encounter that they are loved and valued. And I hate to break it to you, but the people who need to hear it most are usually the ones who want to listen the least. It is usually the ones we find ourselves in conflict with that we need to spend extra energy on loving wholly. We need to convince them by our works, not our opinions. We need to reach our people by loving them till it hurts, US.
Philippians 1:28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.
It honestly took me a few years of repeated questions and continuous searching to realize that, Yes, God loves ME. We often hear this phrase. We ourselves often repeat it as a blessing or a soothing sentiment. I feel as if I could just shout it at everyone I encounter. YOU ARE LOVED! It is not just a phrase to placate fears that run rampant, or a talisman to hold on to in the storms of conflicting emotions. There is absolutely nothing on this earth that can separate us from His love. Nothing. I specifically want to point out, nothing. Got it? Great. Now that you know you are loved, go and love as you yourself are loved. Ridiculously. With abandon. Greatly. Wholly.