Phil’s Points to Ponder for February 19, 2017

In a sermon written in a Georgia jail and preached just after the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about loving your enemies. After noting that hate is just as injurious to the hater as the hated, Dr. King said:

“Of course this is not practical; life is a matter of getting even, of hitting back, of dog eat dog…My friends, we have followed the so-called practical way for too long a time now, and it has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities which surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation and the salvation of mankind, we must follow another way. This does not mean that we abandon our righteous efforts. With every ounce of our energy we must continue to rid this nation of the incubus of segregation. But we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege and our obligation to love. While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. was trying to lift the burdens of his people, not weigh them down with impossible demands. He knew that there was a better way. That way was Jesus’ way.

In our scripture text for this Sunday, Matthew 5:38-48, Jesus tries to lift us up to a higher way of thinking and doing – a way that runs contrary to the “practical way” of the world and it’s leaders. Some will view Jesus’ words as impractical, or an unnecessary burden for us to bear. But, I want to suggest to you that they are meant to lift us up and not to weigh us down.

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