God’s standards are pretty high.

Each day presents a new choice – to follow the path of God or carve out your own.

Which will you choose?

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“You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well. When they wish to haul you to court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. When they force you to go one mile, go with them two. Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.”

Matthew 5:38-42

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We live in a culture where it seems perfectly reasonable to hurt someone because they hurt you. If we think about capital punishment or wars, it seems that justice comes by increasing the violence. Violence is a spiral — it just keeps going. If we are honest, quite often it makes us feel better that a bad guy gets what (we think) he deserves.

If we read Jesus’ words here from the Sermon on the Mount, he begins with “You have heard it said… but I say…” In other words, “an eye for an eye” doesn’t cut it anymore.

We shouldn’t hurt someone because they hurt us. At the same time, it’s also important to remember that Jesus is not saying it’s okay to just take abuse. If someone is hurting or bullying you or someone you know, talk to a trusted adult or authority figure. Rather than fight it out with more violence, speak out against those who hurt others. True justice does not increase the spiral of violence, but breaks it up.

Stacie Whalen

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God, I realize I am called to a higher path. Please help me control my anger and avoid using violence to settle differences. Give me the strength to speak against those hurting others. Amen.

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Go recognizing God’s image in yourself and others.

Stand up for what is right; live your life in a way pleasing to God.

Be kind to everyone and let your actions speak louder than your words.

Stacie Whalen

Stacie Whalen is a student at McAfee School of Theology. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Atlanta area. She calls Peachtree Baptist Church home. Besides her love for Jesus, she is also obsessed with Doctor Who.

Black Berry Blossom - Trust and Obey

Jim McConnell

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