Summary: Message on loving enemies and such.
Don’t Get Even, Get...Love
April 24, 2005
If I were to ask you what kind of movie most of you ladies like, I’m guessing you would say, "romantic comedies." You know, the funny movies where the couple falls in love after all, and everything’s just fine.
If I were to ask most of you guys what kind of movies you’d like, you’d probably say, "action movies," right?
We like to see the good guy win, especially if he has to beat people up or blow things to smithereens to do it.
And it’s especially cool if the good guy is getting revenge because the bad guy either kidnapped or killed the good guy’s family or friends or something like that.
Why is this? I think it’s because most guys and maybe most ladies like the idea of revenge. It’s part of who we are. We want to see people get their just desserts.
I mean, really. Haven’t you ever been in a situation when you wished that Chuck Norris or Bruce Willis or Harrison Ford would just come in and bust some head?
C’mon, folks! Don’t tell me I’m the only one here like that.
Some of the ladies would like that just because those guys are so good looking!
But think about it for a moment. When we hear about an enemy having something happen to them, we get a slight feeling of satisfaction, and maybe a big feeling of satisfaction.
We enjoy seeing someone get some "payback." Well, Jesus addressed this in our passage today. And as we look at this passage in Matthew 5, we need to keep some things in mind.
First, we need to understand that Jesus lived during a horrible time in history. Israel was being oppressed by the Romans, who were cruel and barbaric, and had no problem using bloodshed to keep the order.
The enemy was everywhere, and there was plenty of hate to go around.
Second, Jesus spoke these words knowing fully that there would be plenty of people who would look at them and go, "You’re nuts, Jesus! You really want me to love that person? You have no idea what they’ve done to me. It’s unspeakably painful."
But the fact of the matter is that he did know. And he was very serious when he said these words.
And I want to go on record here of saying that a lot of what I’m going to discuss today from this passage won’t be easy to swallow and apply.
I know that. And I won’t pretend that I’ve got it all together myself. I’m still on the journey. But by the grace of God, things are happening.
In this passage, Jesus gives us four ways to stand out from our culture of "payback."
As we walk through this passage, I’m going to ask you to read this aloud with me, okay, just to make it a little more participatory.
It’s printed in your note-taking guide, but you’re more than welcome to follow along in your own Bibles.
Let’s pray as we get started. (Prayer)
Let’s dig into this passage as we look at four ways to stand out in our culture of "payback." The first way is to...
Set aside the desire for revenge.
A soldier fighting over in Iraq received a letter from his girl friend that said she was breaking up with him. She also asked him to send the picture she had given him when he left because she needed it for her bridal announcement. The soldier was heart broken and told his friends of his terrible situation. So his whole platoon got together and brought all their pictures of their girlfriends, and put them in a box and gave them to him. So he put her picture in the box with the rest along with a note that said, "I’m sending back your picture to you please remove it and send back the rest. For the life of me I can’t remember which one you are." (SermonCentral.com. Contributed by: David Yarbrough)
Read verses 38-40 with me, okay?
"You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
As I was researching for this message, the consensus was that Jesus was referencing a particularly insulting slap of the face. It was one thing to be struck with a closed fist, or even an open hand.
But this seems to be referencing someone hitting you with their right hand on the right cheek, which can only be done back-handed. A back-handed slap in the face was especially insulting, and I think that would also be the case today.