Summary: Continuing series on the Sermon on the Mount- Christians are Abnormal - Looks at a Christian response to abuse and insult.
CHRISTIANS ARE ABNORMAL IN HOW THEY RELATE TO ENEMIES AND ABUSE Matthew 5:38-48 April 15, 2012
Before I address our topic for this morning, I want to confess that what the Bible says is not always easy to do and I have on occasion struggled in this very area myself. Several years ago a person very close to me was injured by another. The law was contacted and because of a lack of evidence, in spite of a confession, the person who committed the offense was never charged and because of the situation, few ever learned of what he had done.
My confession is that at that time, I wanted to kill the person who hurt the one I cared about. I had the means. I had the opportunity, and in the eyes of many, I had the justification. As a matter of fact, I firmly believe that it was nothing more than the grace of God reminding me that if I acted the way I wanted to that my wife would have to go on without a husband to help her, and Drew would grow up without a father; that kept me from acting on my desire.
My confession having been made, I would like to address this morning the subject of Trayvon Martin and how God expects His children to respond.
Most of you are familiar with the situation. On February 26, George Zimmerman, the light-skinned, neighborhood watch commander, killed a 17yo black, unarmed youth. George Zimmerman was questioned by police. The state’s attorney decided not to press charges, and Zimmerman was released.
Since that time there have been numerous protests in Sanford and around the country. Several civil-rights leaders have come to our area and drawn additional attention to the situation. The Sanford police chief, who is a good man, has temporarily stepped down from his post. Some, like the seniors living in the assisted-living facility, Bram Towers, have been forced to remain in their building while protesters walked through their parking lot and damaged their cars, while nothing was done to the offenders.
A special prosecutor has been appointed and George Zimmerman has now been arrested and charged.
Now, none of us know exactly what took place that day. Hopefully, in the upcoming trial we will learn more details and the truth will come out. Growing up in this area and spending much of my early years in Sanford, I have strong feelings about what is going on. The media has done a great deal to stir the flames and we all have pasts, experiences, and rearing to deal with; so I am sure that most of you have an opinion as well.
As we walk through this though, we must realize that what we are dealing with here is not a skin problem. It is a sin problem. Bitterness, resentment, prejudice and all of that are all different faucets of the same thing. Sin.
That being said, the question before us is, “Were the Martins right in their complaints?” I am not asking what I would do in that situation. I am not asking what you would do if that happened to your child. I am asking, “What would Jesus have us do in that situation?”
The majority of you are familiar with this passage. It has been misquoted, and misused since almost the day Jesus said it, 2000 years ago.
I. GOD BELIEVES IN JUSTICE
Some have used the passage in Matthew to say that God doesn’t support capital punishment. That somehow the laws, and God’s plan has changed since He originally gave them.
II. GOD GAVE THE STATE TO EXACT THAT JUSTICE
The original law was given for the state to carry out. There was not to be favoritism with rich folks getting one justice and the poor getting another. There was to be justice and the state was to carry out that justice so there could be law and order and a safe society.
III. THERE IS TO BE NO PERSONAL VENGEANCE
- The punishment is not to exceed the crime.
- The punishment is to be administered by the state.
> But I say to you …
The Pharisees taught that if someone hurt you that you could go and hurt them.
IV. JESUS TAUGHT THAT CHRISTIANS REACT TO OFFENSE DIFFERENTLY THAN THE WORLD
1. We are to love others.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
> By this may all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.
2. We are to overlook an offense –
Turn the other cheek … This was not a case of not defending yourself, as some have incorrectly taught. Jesus doesn’t say that we are to allow ourselves to be victims of anyone who might want to hurt us.