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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 5:38–48               

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (NRSV)

The words from these verses are so familiar but at the same time the meaning has never been quite clear for me.

Being asked to write a devotion related to them has taken me on a journey of meditation and discovery to try to understand what the words are saying. Bottom line for me is that Jesus is asking his disciples to choose to change the way they see the world around them.

They are already committed Christians, so the question becomes how to live a life as a child of God. Translating that to my own walk of faith, it is not enough for me to understand what I think I should believe. I need to see my world as God sees it.

This challenge is contrary to the norm in today’s society. Can I let go of being driven by judgement and payback? How can I live my life in a way that others feel God’s love for them? There is no easy answer, but it helps to live with joy in your heart.

Loving God, thank you for all of the blessings filling my life. Help me to open my mind and heart so that those I come in contact with can feel that same sense of being loved by you. I humbly ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Written by Barbara Timberlake, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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