Saturday, November 5, 2016

Attitude Is Everything

How many times has it seemed that it would be fitting to lash out and throttle some seemingly deserving person? I admit to having those feelings at times, but the constraints of the Holy Spirit gives us strength that allows us the option to resist the temptation. Those of us who have called on the name of Jesus Christ and have invited him into our lives as Savior and Lord have also been given certain gifts, one of these gifts is a sense of discernment which comes into play as we live out the following verses and understand how to apply them in terms of the beatitudes or as I prefer to call them the [be attitudes] reflecting how we should react toward others and especially in front of unbelievers. 

(Matthew 5: 38 - 39) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

So often people assume that being a Christian means they are required to submit to being beaten, pummeled and suffer all manner of mental, verbal and physical abuse because of Christ’s admonition to ‘turn the other cheek’, this is where discernment comes in. First of all we need to consider the word evil in the context used by the Lord. Here he is addressing his apostles when he says; “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13) 
We know that eleven of his twelve apostles were good men according to worldly standards and yet Jesus addressed them as, “You who are evil,” it is because although he loved them and they were righteous in their desire to know God, he had not yet suffered and died for them on the cross and they had not yet confessed him as Lord and Savior, so in God’s eyes they were evil. 

We all know and like many people who are basically good in terms of worldly standards and yet they have never named Jesus as their Lord and Savior. God loves them enough to have sacrificed His only begotten Son on the cross for them but they refuse to acknowledge Him, thus they are evil in God’s sight. Therefore if any one of these who are evil strikes you, it is the will of God and a witness of His power in your life to turn the other cheek. Keep in mind though that every man’s head comes equipped with only two cheeks and God does not intend for us to become doormats and whipping posts for abusive people.

Now there are two other types of evil which we may have to deal with, both are of a malevolent nature. The first one has to do with protecting ourselves or others from an assault by a malevolent person or persons intent on inflicting serious bodily harm or death. We are not expected by God to be victims by turning the other cheek, it is our God given right and His expectation that we will defend ourselves and others.

In the third and most malevolent instance under the worst case scenario when subjected to extreme persecution as Christians, we are to surrender our souls to God and prepare to suffer unspeakable tortures and even die in the defense of our faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ rather than deny the Lord to save ourselves. 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. 
(Matthew 16: 24 - 27)  

No comments:

Post a Comment