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“There is no ‘them and us.’ There is only us.” – Greg Boyle, SJ
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“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Ah, here it is, perhaps the most often ignored teaching of Jesus.
Not only is it ignored, the opposite is many times heralded.
I recently saw this insightful quote from Christian activist Shane Claiborne: “There is a version of American Nationalism that’s trying to camouflage itself as Christianity. But it doesn’t look like Jesus, or sound like Jesus. It exchanges the cross for a gun, and contradicts nearly every word of the Sermon on the Mount.”
The Sermon on the Mount is often referred to as The Beatitudes.
It features such lines as: “Blessed are the merciful” (Matthew 5:7) and “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
Jesus’ teachings are hard for a person who is operating through an either-or mentality, people who think Jesus is saying to let the guilty go off Scot-free.
Why is it so hard to operate through a both-and mentality?
You can both hold someone accountable and treat them with mercy.
If someone has done harm to another, they must suffer the consequences in some way, but the way can be tempered with compassion and the aim of restoration.
This is the way of Jesus.
This is why St. Paul was able to state: “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving on another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do” (Colossians 3:12-13).
Paul went on to say, “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body” (Colossians 3:15).
This is the key: one body.
As Richard Rohr puts it, “Our holiness lies in participating in the wholeness of the Body of Christ.”
We simply must get out of our little-protected-ego-selves, and see the Bigger Picture, the reality of our Oneness in God, in whom we all “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Listen to the song of the day “All Are One” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.
Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.
Purchase my new book “Listen to Your Heart: A Daily Devotional of Calling, Purpose and New Life” on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Remember: God loves you!