The ethic taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is not easy. (Check out Matthew 5:21-48.) It calls us to reconcile with those who wrong us before we worship the Lord. Jesus commands us to not lust instead of simply not cheating. He says that remarriage can be adultery instead of approved with a piece of paper. He says oaths dishonor him because honesty should not need an oath. He tells us to not refuse the one who does evil and to go two miles when we are only required to go one. Jesus teaches us to not only love people, but to love our very enemies.
In about 30 Scriptures worth of teaching, Jesus turned the world upside down.
Just enough is never enough.
If you are a follower of Christ, just enough is never enough. You will never honor the Lord if all you desire to give is “just enough.” The “just enough” mentality is why relationships are broken and communities are divided
The problem is not that the world is filled only with “evil” people who desire harm toward others, but we live in a world filled with people who think that “just enough” is enough.
I am guilty. Way too often in life I give just enough. If we are going to be used by the Lord in these days of fear, anger, racial tension, distrust of authorities, and confusion we must decide that just enough is never enough.
Not hating is not the same thing as loving.
Jesus did not call us to “not hate,” he called us to love. The race relations in our culture are not going to be cured by people who give “just enough.” How are you loving someone that is different in appearance and even opinion than you today? It is not enough that you held your tongue when they posted something you considered ridiculous on facebook this week. How are you loving them? Not hating them is not enough.
Not going 1 mile in the wrong direction is not the same thing as going 2 miles in the right direction.
Who are you going along with in all of this? Walking with someone is not the same thing as agreeing with them. You can disagree and still walk beside someone. In this situation, this person has no legal authority to command of you to go with them 1 mile, but perhaps it is obvious that they really need someone to go along with them. The anger and fear they have spewed this week is a cry for help. Go 2 miles with them.
Not saying untrue things is not the same thing as saying true things.
Just because your opinion cannot be proven as untrue does not make it true. Often the best way to make sure that your mouth and your life line up correctly is to open up your life but close your mouth. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. No one needs you to share every controversial quote and article you find this week. Just because something cannot be proven wrong does not mean it was right to say.
When the shoe does not fit wear your own, but don’t walk alone.
I had a great conversation with a young African-American minister this week. He asked to meet with me after I reached out to him. We talked. I listened more than I talked. I admitted to him I do not know what it is like to walk in his shoes. He admitted to me he does not know what it is like to walk in the shoes of a white law enforcement officer (neither do I). With these simple admissions, we were able to start walking alongside each other in a way that helps. I am learning from him what it is like to be him, but I will never fully understand. I do not need to be an expert about his life, I need to be his friend. So we are walking along together. I am wearing my shoes. He is wearing his shoes. And our shoes don’t fit each other. Our experiences are not the same. So he is walking with me and I am walking with him and I will walk with him as far as he needs me to, not as far as I feel I need to. Truth is, I need him to walk with me more than I think he needs me to walk with him.
Pretending you know what you do not know is not helping. You will never know another person’s experience, but you can know the other person. You can’t do that while you are pretending you understand what it means to walk in their shoes, so walk in your own, but don’t walk alone.
Sometimes we are asked to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I have come to this reality. I cannot walk a mile in your shoes (No matter how hard I try, they don’t fit), but I can walk 2 miles with you. It’s Biblical. When asked to go 1 mile go 2. Why? The first mile the law requires…the second mile love requires.
Jesus follows these truths with instructions on how give to the needy, pray (and forgive), and fast. I implore you, as followers of Christ, do these 3 things. (Matthew 6:1-18) Practice your faith. Do what you know is right. Walk with the Lord and he will help you walk out your faith in dark times and in dark places.
I encourage you to always pray more than you speak…give more than you ask…forgive others before you ask them to forgive you…and fast more than you feast. Living in this way will allow you to know Christ in such a way that you can live out this high calling found in the Sermon on the Mount.
Give your all, not your enough.