To Live Greatly in My Kingdom (Part 2)

A Trinitarian-Incarnational interpretation of Matthew 5.33-48

(33) They say “Keep the promises you make in Papa’s name.” (34) But I say, don’t make promises like that. It is meaningless to make promises invoking heaven or earth (35) or Jerusalem (36) or your head, because none of these things are under your control. (37) Instead, speak simply. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Verbal manipulation is just another way of lying.

(38) They say “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (39) But I say, when you face evil, confront it with the infinitely creative resources of the Triune life. Fight or Flight are not your only options. Don’t take to Fighting. Don’t take to Flight. Instead, take a Stand. Make peace aggressively. For example, let’s say you get bullied on the street. When the bully hits you on the right cheek, he is counting on you to either run away or hit him back. So do something unexpected, like offering him your left cheek, inviting him to hit you again. When you refuse to play the bully’s game, it opens up all kinds of new possibilities, even the possibility of peace and reconciliation. Because of my love for evildoers, I am taking on a cross. Follow me, and I will teach you how to take a punch.

(40) Or let’s say you get sued. You could play the victim and simply acquiesce to the other’s demands, boohoo, poor little victim. Or you could lawyer up and join him in the litigation game. But why not try something more creative? Don’t lose your shirt. Instead, GIVE him the shirt off your back. Heck, give him all your clothes, and maybe then he’ll get over his weird fetish for suing the pants off people.

(41) Or let’s say a soldier forces you to carry his stuff a mile down the road. You could play the role of the tragically oppressed, carrying his stuff and internally whimpering about the injustice of it all. OR what about this: Cheerfully carry his stuff two miles and then send him on his way with blessings in Papa’s name. That will certainly give him something to think about.

(42) Or let’s say a beggar crosses your path. You usually do your best to ignore him, or failing that, you give him some change so that he’ll leave you alone. Instead, remember he is Papa’s beloved child, just like you are. Manage your money in such a way that you’ll always have a little something to give (or loan) to him. If you don’t like that situation, maybe that will motivate you to look into the reasons why your brothers and sisters are starving to death on the streets.

(43) They say “Love your friends and hate your enemies.” (44) But I say love your enemies. Join in the Trinity’s life of outgoing concern and compassion for those people who are out to get you. (45) Living as Papa’s child means sharing in his kindness toward all people, regardless of how they act toward you. Whether you love or hate our Papa, he causes the sun to warm you and the rain to cool you. It is his great joy to do so. Join us in our joy. (46) Even total jerks love the people who are nice to them. (47) If you are opening your life to only a few privileged people who are just like you, then you are missing out on the adventure Papa is unleashing in the world. (48) Papa is giving sonship to all people, extending to everyone the life of perfect love he shares with me in the Spirit. So get on board. Become an active participant in the harmonious perfection of the incarnate Triune life which is Papa’s gift to all.

~ John Stonecypher

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