Monday, March 20, 2006

A New Way to Live

The Sermon on the Mount is telling us there is a new way to live. This blows me away, and time after time, I look at it, and don't really take it as serious as I should. We break it all apart and get hung up and the immensity of it.

Don't be angry, Don't lust -- We stop and say, "There is really no way, unless God changes my heart, which I wish He would, but He hasn't. Not like that." It just continues to be a bludgeon. I can't get my arms around it. I can't ...

Don't divorce, Let your Yes be your Yes -- Seems like miscellaneous category. Not even in the same league with anger and lust. I've not been divorced and don't think my marriage will. What's the big deal about promises?

It has struck me that maybe these are ways people live, or look for life. People really do think they have some ideas of how to look for life -- lottery, retirement, parenting, job satisfaction, drinking, sexual conquests, gambling, free time, ... And Jesus said the wise man builds his house on the rock. He is at least here, telling us what not to pursue to pursue life.

Angry -- pushy, self-righteous, arrogant and not treated with enough respect, unforgiving, important, ...

Lustful -- sexual fantasy, constantly weaving sexualness into all activities, commercials do this all the time, a lot of video games do this. It is a way of living life.

Divorce -- not so much a way of living life, but a decision that the current relationship is a dead-end to life. A decision that for me to have life, I'm going to have to start over. There isn't enough here to work with. Maybe this extends to "I'm going to move to a different town." Or a new job.

I Swear -- maybe this is the "Go to guy." Responsible to the max. I can "Get R Dun." You can count on me. This is great up to a point. I want my kids to be people you can count on, but maybe this is the Savior complex. "I'll fix it." It is not your kingdom. You are not THE Go To Guy. There is another. You have a role. Play it. I've made this mistake a lot. I say I'll call, I'll visit. And I don't.

Not angry doesn't just mean nice. Can't you do the right thing, stand up for the right thing, hold your ground, protect the innocent, without getting mad? Reminds of the movie "The Punisher." The bad guys killed his family, like all of them, cousins, aunts, uncles, ... all of them. In front of him. He's mad. He keeps punishing the bad guys. But 2/3 of the way through the movie, they flash back to all the killings. And I say to myself, "Oh that's right, he's mad. That's why he's punishing them." Not being angry doesn't mean not protecting your family, not standing up to someone being rude, ... Anger just really doesn't help. That flash of warning from anger may be a useful signal to us. But letting rage out of hand just makes us do foolish things that does not resolve the problem.

We may be angry with someone who has been really awful to us. But holding on to that anger doesn't do anything for us or even really for them. There are some people who have really hurt Danelle and I, at a lot of different times in our lives. Mostly, I really can't think of one we haven't, we've moved on and looked for opportunities to reconcile. WE ARE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO PUT OURSELVES IN A POSITION TO BE ABUSED AND EVEN MORE CAREFUL WITH OUR CHILDREN. Jesus says be innocent as doves and shrewd as snakes.

The goal of life is reconcilation. The goal of life is people who can live with each other. The goal of life is join Jesus and the rest of those who follow in a joint life together for all eternity.

This is the opportunity. It is found here in the Sermon on the Mount. We have to look this over very carefully, and assume that we aren't lost in looking for life.

1 comment:

Tom said...

I once heard someone describe the sermon on the mount as Jesus' inauguration address. It is like He is telling us how we are to live in His kingdom.
I thought that was pretty accurate.