A reflection on Matthew 5:38-48

A reflection on Matthew 5:38-48 delivered during a prison communion service

We seem to be living more and more in times of division – deep division. There is a tendency, a human tendency, to group and label anyway. In scriptures we find the bad and the good, the just and the unjust, your neighbor and your enemy, the sheep and the goats.

So if we look at today’s society, we have divisions that are pretty normal. But there seems to be, now, an animosity, a distrust, a disdain, a willingness to judge rather than engage and listen.

There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground in many instances. There are those who love the Packers, but hate the Patriots, love the Cardinals but hate the Cubs, love or hate Democrats or Republicans, love or hate immigrants, refugees, people of color, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, unions, Planned Parenthood, the NRA.

But don’t we live in a pluralistic society with many philosophies, many viewpoints, and many beliefs? Brothers, that should be our strength, not a crack in our foundation. I am reminded of the strength when different entities are brought together. In biblical times, mud and straw made bricks. Today, carbon fiber-reinforced compounds are used to build jet fighters.

Why shouldn’t a society made up of many separate parts be stronger, more effective, more resilient, more growthful, and more life-giving? Sometimes what is needed is more confidence in our own principles and beliefs so that we can respond to differences with more tolerance, more patience, more humility … more love … that we may all reveal ourselves to be children of our heavenly Father.

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2 Responses to “A reflection on Matthew 5:38-48”

  1. Citizen Tom Says:

    Busybodyism (=> https://citizentom.com/2008/05/07/busybodyism/) is one of the expressions I use on my blog occasionally. I suppose the rulers of the Roman Empire were some of the most persistent busybodies who have ever lived. With ruthless efficiency and unapologetic terror, they suppressed dissent and ruled over the lives of millions.

    What about our day? Our land? We have none who rule that approach the tyrannical madness of Rome. Still, we have innumerable groups who insist that everyone else needs believe, think, and do something their way. Ironically, these groups often pose as being extremely tolerant, and they prove this by yelling and screaming various epithets at their opponents.

    Why did the rulers of Rome need to conquer and lord over the world? Why can’t people figure out that schemes to rule others will never will bring them joy? Why are almost none of us without such a flaw? Why do we all have our blind spots? As the author of this post suggests, it seems we need more confidence in our own principles and beliefs. If we have faith — if we are certain we are in the will of our Creator and our Father — perhaps then we can love our neighbors. Perhaps then we can be more patient with our enemies, even misguided busybodies.

  2. Citizen Tom Says:

    Made a small mistake. Reblog in moderation. That is the good “comment”, but it is a duplicate.

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