You look after the sincerity, God will look after the perfection.
The sermon on the mount continues. Yesterday Jesus talked about being obvious to the world. Be like salt, be like light shining out.
I was interested that to a bunch of strangers this is quoted as among the first things he said. Giving that responsibility to those with little theological knowledge. To just anybody!
The teaching in today’s chapter is mainly about being sincere inyour private relationship with God. That is what Jesus says should be the foundation of your presence in the world. Thoughout the Bible, that honest humble sincerity seems so much more valuable to God than lots of knowledge.
Give to the needy because of your sincere conviction before God, not to work the human dynamic of what is considered moral. Ditto prayer, fasting and your attitude to wealth.
He tosses in the lord’s prayer, as you do. It’s a rich section that I can’t do justice in one day’s entry.
This sincerity before God introduces a reciprocity. These lessons are applications of the two great commands, to love God and thereby know how to love your neighbor.
Forgive as you would be forgiven. Give without making need shameful, as you would want help to be. Pray, earn money for the benefit of others, not to build up yourself. That is reciprocated as treasure in heaven. As above, so below; as below, so above.
I read an article this morning that struck me as being full of this spirit, by a gay “teacher in residence” in the US reformed church, where he may never be ordained, about why he stays.
He is in no way ashamed to be gay, but he is present and humble before those who do not agree with him. Here he is discussing a warm-ish email he got from a congregation member who initially would not greet him.
Emails like hers remind me of the power of presence. Our bodies and stories can accomplish what no court can. Even if she never changes her views on sexuality, perhaps I’ve been able to complicate her narrative and to instigate a pause, into which a thought might emerge: Maybe things weren’t as simple as I thought. But that line of thinking applies equally to me. Perhaps she has complicated my narrative, too. She has reminded me that the law that governs my faith doesn’t discriminate, even — and especially — when it comes to those who might discriminate against me.Jeff Chu https://nyti.ms/38s4fxd
The legal template set by Jesus for the Christian faith says this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Even if I change no hearts, minds or souls, that higher law remains. The instruction is to love God — and to love my neighbor as she is, not as she might someday be. I crave that kind of love myself, even as I struggle to extend it to others.Jeff Chu
Beautiful, I think. It has that connection between private honesty before God flowing to loving interactions between people. In the way they disagree, they are being salt and light to each other, and templates of the kingdom of God.
This is the way of Jesus’ scary perfection then. When he says you should gouge out an eye that causes you to sin.
Give up trying by your own efforts to show off to God and other people what a good person you are. You’ll never get there. Every letter and more of the law is fulfilled if we give ourselves with sincerity to god’s mercy. If we sincerely receive Jesus’ perfect transforming love, a little of it will overflow out to others.