Revenge, forgiveness and cookie cutters (Matt 5v38-42)

Ban cookie cutter Christianity.  Stop trying to mould others into what you think a Christian looks like - that's God's job. Photo of street artist in Stoke on Trent carving a dog out of sand

Ban cookie cutter Christianity. Stop trying to mould others into what you think a Christian looks like – that’s God’s job.

Matthew 5v38-42 What do you think this is about?

Jesus teaches about revenge – Don’t do it.  Medical and scientific studies have proved  that if you are bitter and twisted you wreck and cripple your old body – and if  you can forgive and let things go you will literally live longer.  They reckon optimists live 10 years longer than cynics…[original source unknown]

Asking for Forgiveness: If you’ve done anything to upset someone – ask their forgiveness.  Try to sort it out with them before it gets  out of hand and you end up in court.  Common-sense really, but you only have to read the newspapers or magazines to see how many people fall foul of this advice….

Matthew 5v43-48 What do you think this is about?

Jesus teaches about loving enemies
Anyone can be nice to people who are nice to them.  Pop stars, celebrities, anyone can do that…  Can you be nice to someone who has just stabbed you in the back with their  words or who has let you down repeatedly or who actively gets you into trouble.  That is the true test of whether you are a Christian or a hypocrite like the
Pharisees and religious leaders we read about in Matthew 5v17-20.

John 1v8 and I John 2 v 1-7 If we say we don’t sin we are liars.  The only thing we can do is throw ourselves on God’s mercy and ask him for forgiveness.  My son did something wrong yesterday which could have resulted in him missing out on a chance to have his friends over…

My 13-year-old son: “I did something wrong which could have  resulted in me being grounded.  Rather  than being angry and saying hateful things to or about my parents I chose to  buy them a present as well as using other ways to show I was sorry.  I tried to make it up to them.  They relented on the planned punishment and I was able to have 3 friends  over, and we had a great time outside with the fire pit and lots of sweets, cola and other treats.

God is just like that – if we go to Him and say we are sorry – we’ve messed up again and ask Him for forgiveness – He forgives us no problem.”

I once listened to a Christian comedian  Mike Warnke.  People were shocked as at the time he was a loud mouthed hippy with a long hair>  He always joked at least it embarrassed his kids into being straight-laced and conservative.  What I liked most about him though was that he said, “Christians should ditch their cookie cutters” and stop trying to mould  other people into their image of what a Christian should look like.  That’s God’s job.  Only God made us, only God knows what has  happened to us and what we’ve done along the way that has made us who we are today.  Only God can hold our hands and help us move to a better future, one  with hope and forgiveness and second chances.

One thing that Mike Warnke said that has stuck with me for 20 years is, “Spend enough time doing the DO’s and you won’t have time to do the DONT’s”.

If you remember that and love God, yourself, and others with God’s help  then that is the secret of true Christian  living.  That way we can obey God, and  even when we mess up or people hurt us,  we can forgive and be forgiven -which is the real fruit of love.

© Copyright Michelle Sherlock 30/05/2011 (Photo updated May 2014)

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