Summary: The hardest thing that we will ever have to do is live out a life of loving others treating them as we would want to be treated. If we love others the way Jesus did, it will wreck our lives.
Series on the Mount
Jesus Will Wreck Your Life
October 14, 2007
What might be your greatest fear? What do you dread the most? What possibility scares you the most?
I think the greatest fear for humans is God. Here’s a being that is greater than we can comprehend. More holy than our wildest imaginations. No wonder the bible talks about fearing God. Yet God is also more than loving than we will ever know. But this is scary especially when you think about what Jesus said referring to love in chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” How can I love perfectly? It petrifying.
Two men were walking along discussing God, eternity, and judgment. One of them stops and says, “You know, there is a question I’d like to ask God.”
“What question?” his friend responds.
“How could you let all the evil and despair and injustice occur in this world?”
“Yeah, it doesn’t make sense!”
The first guy stops and with serious expression says, “But the question terrifies me!”
“Terrifies you? How could asking such a fundamental question terrify you?”
“Well, I’m afraid God might ask me the same question.”
Turn to Matthew 7:12 and we will hear Jesus sum it up.
12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
There are a few things here. First this verse is:
Jesus’ Shema: a summary
This is what Jesus believed. This is the way his followers are to live. We are to love. Not just believe in who Jesus was but it must transform the way we live and interact with others. This is scary. Yes, this is terrifying. Why? Because I believe that we begin to live out what Jesus teaches and form a new community and a new way of living that stops judging others and embraces the poorest of the poor and stops lusting after everything that can be bought and sold and especially in our day: sex. If we would actually forgive others and if we would pray for God’s will in our lives and pray for our enemies and actually fast and generously give of anything and everything that we have and poor out blessings on everyone around us (not just those we know well and who are easy to love), then it will wreck out lives. Yes, Jesus will wreck your life.
Most of us when we see this verse put ourselves first. We ask, “What would I like to be done for me?” But this doesn’t really capture the meaning. If loving is desiring what is best for others, then we must ask what is it that would benefit them the most. Not what would benefit me if I were in that situation. Loving will wreck your life.
For Jesus this short little creed is what the entire Old Testament is about: Loving others. Doing for them and treating them in the same way that you would want to be treated. It is a radical departure from our self-centered existence that will wreck your life.
“Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer.” – Dorothy Day
“Following Jesus is simple, but not easy. Love until it hurts and then love more.” – Mother Teresa
Bookends on Jesus’ teachings
Verse 12 of chapter five, Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Between these two verse 12’s of chapter five and seven lies Jesus’ teachings about how to live: which means loving others. Loving God means that we love others. Relationship integrity. Treating people with dignity and respect as children of God. Not hating. Not judging. Not writing off someone which in Jesus’ day might be a death sentence because people often depended on their community to survive.
The stuff before is sort of like prologue. An Introduction. The stuff after is like a conclusion. Final thoughts to remember as you go to live a different way of life. It is a new way of living and one must die in order to live it. Think about it.
Think about the picture Jesus paints elsewhere. You die to the old self and old way of living. You take up your cross. Jesus will wreck your life. If you want to be comfortable, don’t follow Jesus. Believe in Jesus by all means. Believe that who he said he is, he is. Understand the bible. Keep on living the same way you always have. Keep on doing the same things. Because if you follow Jesus especially the American Jesus that asks for very little (maybe 10% and a prayer here and there and ten minutes in the morning and an hour or so on Sunday), if you really follow the Jesus of the bible, it will wreck your life. He will wreck your life. You must like out the life of Jesus in you. It is no longer your life. It is his life, his spirit, that lives in you.