38“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
More than a Moral Code
This short passage of scripture is pulled from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I read a few articles concerning this famous message by Jesus to his followers. As you can imagine, a lot has been written about the Sermon on the Mount, but one thought stuck out.
Thomas Aquinas made a point, which others have agreed with through the centuries. The Sermon on the Mount can easily be stripped of any spirituality. It can reframed as a code to live a good, moral life. It could be called, “Rules to Live a Clean Life”.
Be kind. Be generous – even to people who take from you. Great rules for someone to be a good person.
The Sermon on the Mount is more than “50 Pithy Quotes by Jesus” you share on Facebook. It is tied to the nature of God. The Sermon on the Mount is nothing without the Spirit of God infused within it.
The Sermon on the Mount reminds us to live like God lives.
God is a forgiver of evil.
I don’t understand how God forgives the very worst in humanity. God willingly forgives serial killers, mass murders and rapists. He forgives abusers of children and people who create pornography. He forgives men and women who cheat others out of millions and millions of dollars. God forgives and then goes the extra mile.
I can’t fathom how Jesus knowingly walked toward a horrible death, and in the middle of it, stopped to forgive his accusers. Jesus goes the extra mile and then forgives.
Living the Sermon on the Mount means more than adhering to a moral code. It means living with the Spirit of God infused inside of you. It means being transformed (Romans 12).
It means being like God.
The creation story in Genesis tells us we are created in God’s image. We are like Him. As followers of Jesus, this means we live lives full of His Spirit, doing things we can’t do on our own. We love evil people. We go the extra mile. We treat people like God treats people.
So, picture some people in your head – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, school mates, enemies. See their faces? Now answer this question…
Are you treating them like God would treat them?
Today, love people – even if their evil. Go the extra mile. Be full of God’s Spirit.