I guess what I'm wondering is this: how come when some people, thinking in a fundamental or literal manner, want to understand scripture "literally", how come it's not the part about loving our enemies that they want to argue for ? Sometimes I think it would be easier to give up a tooth (not an eye so much) than to forgive someone who has wronged me or someone I love.
Jesus packs a lot into this weekend's Gospel, another passage from the Sermon on the Mount. Lots to chew on: offer no resistance to one who is evil, turn the other cheek, give to the one who wants to borrow, and pray for those who persecute you. And ends with: Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Who can possibly live like this? That is a very tall order!
I wonder how I listen to this passage and not feel like I've failed before I even begin?
Sometimes I can be good at parts of this passage. Occasionally I can turn the other cheek. I try hard to forgive, to not hold a grudge, but I'm not always successful. You would think it would be easier than it is to pray for your enemies...I'm surprised just how difficult I find this one.
So, I'm not sure really where this leaves me. Jesus says God allows the sun to shine on the good and the bad. Some days I'm the 'good', but honestly, some days I'm probably the 'bad'. Not terrible mind you, but not my best self. I've got a lot of growing edges.
Maybe what helps me understand this scripture are words like compassion and respect. Those are the gifts that I should be able to offer others, and I surely hope that when I'm not being my best self, that's the way others will treat me. When I struggle with the idea of perfection I have to remember that in his original telling Jesus didn't mean that neurotic perfection that can so mark my struggles, but rather a more cultural (for him, in his world) understanding meaning to be impartial, to leave nothing out, to hold all people in a loving way. Still not simple, but at least in this sense perfect doesn't actually mean perfect as we understand it today. I can let go of that one!
So, as you listen to the readings this weekend, what word gives you comfort? What makes you squirm? Spend a moment or two there and ask God what God is trying to reveal to you today.
And enjoy the sunshine that warms us all.