As we read through the Sermon on the Mount we might find some things that we think sound like good ideas, but we might struggle to put them into practice. We might have nurtured patterns of thinking that are different from what Jesus is talking about. But the Sermon on the Mount is not just a list of rules – it’s a description of the Kingdom of God. We strive to practice these ideals, but we recognize that these new behaviors might feel foreign to us. We’re inviting Jesus to be a part of who we are. This isn’t an act of willpower, it is partnering with the Holy Spirit and asking God to make us more and more into people who look like Jesus.
The point was never really the commands or rules themselves, but what the commands are pointing to. The point of it all can be summed up in one word: love.
Breaking the Cycle
Message by Josh Mutter – May 16, 2021
Matthew 5:38-42 NIV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Jesus teaches us to resist the default settings of violence.
Jesus teaches us to respond to injury by offering a loving alternative.
Matthew 5:43-48 NIV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus teaches us that the love of the Kingdom does not nurture the idea of enemies.
Jesus teaches us to exchange our enemy mindset for neighbourly love.
Jesus teaches us the good news that God’s mercy is not based on our perception of ourselves or our perception of others.
Admit – Reflect – Pray – Bless
Resources on Non-Violence
- Peace & Nonviolence Blog – Red Letter Christians
- Christian Nonviolence and Church History – Ronald J. Sider
- What if Hittler Invaded Your House? – Brian Zahnd
- Sider, Ronald J., Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demand but Most Christians Have Never Really Tried, 2015. (Available at the Kitchener Public Library)
- Yoder, John Howard, What Would You Do? If a violent person threatened to harm a loved one…,1983.
- Violence and Religion – Bruxy Cavey
- Tough Stuff: Refuse – Josh Mutter
About Josh Mutter: Josh Mutter is the Lead Pastor at Westheights Community Church. Josh is married to Michelle and they have two very busy little boys named Silas & Isaac. Josh enjoys long walks on the beach and smooth jazz – well, not really. But he does enjoy time with his family, spending time outdoors, watching baseball, sipping coffee and reading a good book.
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