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"'I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never -- I promise -- regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives towards us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
"'Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults -- unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back -- given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.'" Luke 6:37-39 (The Message).
The world of nature has many lessons for us, if we are willing to learn them. Take the lesson of sowing and reaping, for example.
The same law that works in our gardens works in our lives. The kind of seed we put in the ground will determine the kind of fruit we reap, and not only in kind but in measure. We cannot plant one grain of wheat and expect to reap oats or a bumper crop from one seed.
It's the same in life. We cannot sow stinginess and expect to reap generosity or meanness and expect to reap kindness. Bottom line; we reap what we sow. But it's about much more than reaping what we sow. It's about what happens inside of us when we live generously and graciously. The guilt, shame and unhappiness that we feel when we are stingy and unkind gives way to peace and joy which are enough rewards without the rest of the harvest that will come to us.
That's the way God created us to be from the beginning; in His image and one with Him in the way He thinks and acts. That's the way Jesus lived as a man among us. Tit-for-tat living brings no joy or fulfilment; it only perpetuates and escalates evil. Does revenge ever stop with the first wrong? Never!
Judging, criticising, retaliating, all betray a deep-seated attitude that Jesus hates -- the "I'm better than you" disposition, looking down on other people, either trying to show them up through judging or criticising, or trying to get even with them by retaliation and revenge.
The problem with these attitudes is that they reveal more about us than about the person we are gunning for. Not only do they expose our own hearts, but they also reap far more trouble than we expected. We only need to watch children in the playground. One child offends another; the other retaliates and before long there is war. Other children are drawn in and injuries happen, black eyes, scratches, skinned knees and possibly even worse. Where do the violence and killing that happen in schools today originate?
Jesus said that, by cutting off evil at its source, you can stop the flow. Change the seed you sow and see what happens. But He didn't only tell us what to do; He did it Himself. He showed us what happens when we absorb evil instead of perpetuating it, loving instead of hating, having a generous attitude instead of being harsh and judgmental, making allowances for people instead of being rigid and unforgiving.
It came to an end in Him; He took it to death and then came back; He proved He could overcome and then gave us the power to conquer our own unkind dispositions so that we can live like Him.
Religion offers nothing but the vain hope that people can do enough to satisfy the deity. No god has ever done anything for mankind but perpetuate wickedness. There is only one God, the Creator of the universe and perfect representative of the Father, Jesus who did it all for us. He took our place, paid our debt and then gave us the righteousness He earned through His obedience in the face of suffering.
Have you received Him?
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