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The good news for the day March 10, 2017

Friday of the First Week in Lent (228)

Jesus says to us, His followers: “I am telling you the truth: unless your “justice” –your grasp of truth—means more than that of educated people (“scribes”) and religious leaders (Pharisees), you will not enter into the realm of what’s right. You have heard people tell you, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and ‘Whoever kills someone will be liable to an indictment.’ But I am telling you that anybody mad at his brother or sister will be answerable to a judgment; whoever insults his brother or sister will be answerable to a higher court and whoever says, ‘You idiot’ will be just trash for the city dump. So then—say you’re bringing your donation for the collection to your house of prayer and on the way remember that your brother or sister has something against you, just drop your donation right there before you go on in. Immediately, go back and set things right with your brother or sister—then come and make your donation. Get to an agreement quickly when someone faults you, before you reach a crisis, or that person may set you in front of someone else—someone who will judge you, and that judge will hand you over to a sheriff, and you will be thrown into lockup. I’m telling the truth—you’ll never get out of there—not till you have paid everything you owe!” (Matthew 5)

Why don’t I—and so many others—not take these words seriously? In today’s world, we see wars, semi-wars, bombs, guns, road rage, bitter words of political hate, name-calling galore and half-true accusations.  Why do we deny by our lives these words of Jesus? Why not understand—and giggle?

We are afraid, you and I. Of being called weakling, loser, coward.  If you have stood up for principle, people say you are afraid to change, afraid to admit the truth. Our culture wants you to be enraged back, to fight back, to defend your position. When we try to say “Jesus,” hostility gets worse: “You’re hiding behind religion.” Sometimes—our American culture demands—“you just got to stand up for your self!  You have a right to defend yourself.” Jesus says that is false—the “evil generation.” Make peace. Forgive. Reconcile. Love one another. Don’t go to church without loving the hard love; you are different.

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