Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Luke, Chapter 6 part 3

Jesus’ words struck a chord with me this morning. It was a shameful chord too. The remaining part of chapter 6 of Luke that we have not gone over reminded me of just how sinful and lost I really am. It is because of that loss that I struggle even more at times such as now. Currently, I am going through a period where I feel directionless. I don’t know where I am going and I question if where I have been has any real meaning. I see little value in what I have accomplished for the last four years of my life because nothing seems to help me move forward.

This relates to the passage on judging others and love for my enemies. I tend to view those who hurt me deeply as now longer worthy of my attention. If the hurt is deep enough, it becomes a silent rage. There is a particular hurt in my life that I continue to wrestle with from time to time. As much as my anger changes nothing, I continue to think that if I just saw this person once and was allowed to unleash my fury it would set things right. I know it would change nothing. The person in question does not care. Still, I am the one hurting. I feel they should hurt for causing me pain.

27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. - -Luke 6:27-29

This is likely one f the hardest teachings of Jesus to apply to everyday life. I know it is for me. It takes an enormous amount of grace to do this, but in it is the root of salvation. It takes an enormous amount of grace for Jesus to forgive us of our sin and allow us to enter into His glory, but he still does it. It is no different than this lesson. In our sin we hate God. It causes us to turn from Him. We mistreat Him when we sin. Still, does He hate us? Does He smite us because he can get revenge? No! A thousand times no! He gives us the ultimate, most pure example of love by offering us forgiveness and salvation through the blood of Christ. Are we worthy of this? We are no more worthy of this than those who hurt us being worthy of our forgiveness. Still, the gift is there. This is love in its most pure, unadulterated form.

43"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:43-45

The previous passage relates directly to this verse. What good am I if I store up bitterness in my heart? Look what it has gotten me: a seemingly useless existence with no job. As a result, I sit alone during the day and face every temptation I think I have beaten. I sit alone and simply store up more bitterness at the injustices of the world. What good am I to the kingdom then? What good am I if I succumb each day to the bitterness and not let God use me fully for the plan He has in mind? The choice is ultimately up to me. Do I produce good fruit by striving to move forward with the little good stored in my heart (which is the only way to store up more good) or do I continue to produce dark, bitter fruit and feel the world owes me something simply because I have certain talents.

I know one way hasn’t worked, so I pray that I have the strength, to pursue the other way. I pray God can guide me the other way, too.

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