LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Holy God, Your mercies are new every morning and Your faithfulness is astounding. How great You are!
Read Matthew 5:38–48
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
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Reflect‘Freely you have received; freely give’ (Matthew 10:8). what God has given you, then thank him.
As Jesus unpacks Old Testament laws, he reveals what is expected from those who belong to God’s kingdom: holiness, love, and integrity. In these verses Jesus tackles the way a ruling from the law courts (v 38) had been misapplied to personal relationships, and how another command (v 43) had been misinterpreted to restrict who should receive love or help.
Jesus explains that God himself is our model (v 45). We are to treat others in the same way God has treated us (vs 45,48). If I truly understand the mercy that God showed to me when I was his enemy and certainly did not deserve it, then surely I will show love and kindness to others, even to those who do not deserve it.
We demonstrate that we are kingdom people by being different, by loving like God loves – generously, dangerously, sacrificially. It is a costly love. Jesus’ examples (vs 39–42) suggest that it will cost us our dignity (v 39), our rights (v 40), our time and energy (v 41), and our material possessions (v 42). It certainly cost Jesus all those things (see Philippians 2:5–8).
Consider whether your actions towards those who have wronged you have been about your own dignity and rights. How might verses 39 to 42 spur you on to love them in a practical way?
Gracious Lord, a translation sums up this passage so well, “Live generously and gracious toward others, the way God lives toward you” (MSG). This is my prayer today.