Maybe you already want to say emphatically, “Yes!”

I mean, if God’s Word says something, then that’s final! Right? But what about when it isn’t?

Ok. So, let’s take a look at what Jesus says before I lose you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Can we just take a moment to notice that Jesus says, “You’ve heard it said, but I tell you…?”

Where had they heard it said? Oh, just the Bible. Torah. The law. But Jesus says, nah, don’t do that, do this instead. Do the opposite of that.

What? Can Jesus disagree with the Bible? Is he allowed to do that? Doesn’t he know the rules?!

No wonder religious leaders hated Jesus so much. He challenged their set “Biblical” ideas and was bringing them towards a new way. But new ways are so controversial. Yep. It did get him killed remember.

Jesus goes on to say, oh and also, remember when you heard (in the Bible) to love your neighbour and hate your enemy? You guys remember? It’s here in Leviticus 19:18. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people but love your neighbour as yourself.

Well… now Jesus is saying  take that love beyond your people. Include the ones who you didn’t used to. Make your enemies your people.

“I tell you, love your enemies.”

What happens when you love someone? They may just stop being your enemy. They may become included instead of excluded. The us and them might just become us.

See, here’s the thing. When we pick verses here and there, we can make the Bible say a lot of different things, because it does say a lot of different things.

But if we zoom out, take a look at the whole story, with all of it’s ups and downs, you start to notice trajectories rather than verses. I talk in more detail about this in my yellow and super edgy book. And these trajectories right through are heading towards radical inclusion, unbelievable forgiveness, and a new way of being which is always more loving than the last.

Rather than getting stuck asking “what about this verse and that verse?” try zooming out, stepping back and asking, “where is this heading?” and it would seem that the whole thing was and is heading towards a new way. A way that notices the lonely. A way that loves the ones the religious establishment may not. A way that eats with and enters into genuine relationship with everyday people—people who aren’t like us.

That trajectory is one which I am continually drawn to participate in, and one which I can and want to practice.

Oh, before you go, if you like this and get something out of it please share it.

And if you missed it, check out my previous post Accepting The Tension Between Decay And Repair.

Thanks for being part of the ongoing conversation.

Talk soon.

Jim.

 

 

 

 

 

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