#8 Retaliation

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series: Red Letter City

titles: Retaliation

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: June 5, 2016

scriptures: Matthew 5:38-42, Matthew 7:11, Exodus 21:23-25, Galatian 2:9, Matthew 7:12, Joshua


On Friday Dawn and I drove down to Ann Arbor to visit Matt and Chavonne in the hospital... Their daughter, baby Charlotte was born, and she is just the sweetest thing. She was born, I think a whole two months early, so she is just absolutely tiny and so so precious. And I just need to say this about Matt and Chavonne. I have never in my life seen two believe glow the way that they were glowing that day. The peace. The excitement, and the love in their eyes toward this absolutely precious child was just amazing. 

And I can’t explain it. I know that, their pregnancy was very difficult. They went through some really hard circumstances, things that I could not even begin to imagine… and I know that the whole pregnancy was to a degree plagued with some fear and so to at the end of it all be holding this amazing child obviously was such a sign of the grace of God and an amazing hope for the future. 

Jesus says something a little later in the sermon on the mount, and we will get to it in a couple of months, but he says this:

“if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.”  

and I thought about that when I saw the way that Matt held his daughter. and the look on his face, and the way everything toward Charlie was unconditional love… and as strange as this sounds…  it made me realize something about violence. and the way that we treat each other. The same way that Matt looks at his daughter, God looks at all of his children. and I think that for most of us, we want to always know that we can come to God knowing that no matter what we have done, he still looks at us with that same twinkle in his eye. That same unconditional love. 

and not only that… but there are millions of other Matt’s in the world. People who think the world of their children. Who would do anything for them. And in every situation that you find yourself in, in which you are paired AGAINST another person… that person is someone’s child. That person has a world of people that he has touched merely by being born…. 

and that person is a child of the living God. 

and if we approach every situation and every confrontation that we are faced with from that perspective, perhaps it would be easier than you think to do what Jesus asks of us here in this revolutionary sermon.



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