“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. …For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matthew 12:33,34b,35-37)
I’m struggling with a relationship lately. Not that relationships are not a struggle for me anyway. I descend from a long line of jealous, violent, abusive, and relationship-impaired ancestors. But I’m always shocked when I encounter relationship violence in the Body of Christ. (OK, now I hear you snickering!)
I’m not really happy about this struggle either. I’m homebound until I heal from the knee surgery and get my car back from the collision-repair folks–a friend pulled out of her garage and into my car–$2100 for a new door, paint job, et al. My car was staying at their house for ‘safekeeping.’
So here I am, homebound, powerless to fix anything, unable to set up alternative transportation arrangements, and caught in the middle of a firestorm over using exclamation marks in an email requesting my blankets back from a friend who took them to put them into space bags. Which brings me back to my premise–who knew my friend’s daughter would go into ‘offense overdrive,’ and turn a one-sentence request into WW III. Words are messy.
But we all do things just as hurtful and stupid, right? It’s one of the reasons I’ve been a hermit all these years. It’s easier and safer to maintain your own sanity if you stay just out of reach of the violence. I figure I’ve done my time, paid my dues, endured and perpetrated enough violence for one lifetime. God’s called me to a higher place. Yeh, right!
Anyway, so here I am, wanting to get as far away from the psychoses as I can–but thinking, as a disciple, I should be out there among the wounded, healing, delivering, restoring, reconciling and forgiving.
I can hear your sighs of relief–“yeh, thank God she’s in this mess and I’m not…” Not to worry, He spreads discipleship out like a healing balm–you’re up next!
No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best–the sun to warm and the rain to nourish–to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.
If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (Matthew 5:42-48)