Maybe it was the the election of 2016, or the shootings of police officers and unarmed black men, or maybe it’s the peril of social media where people make blanket statements about race, or party or policy. No one can doubt that we are more divided and in need of a revolution. Not a national revolution but a soul revolution. This revolution will occur when we are weary of people who claim to be Christians and yet support, for their own culture, people who act contrary to the teachings of Jesus for the sake of their own good causes. We are in need of a revolution.
Jesus was the greatest revolutionary figure in history. Jesus shattered the religious systems of the world with a new commandment, “Love.” He overthrew the greatest empire with one weapon: “Love.” He served the greatest meal ever eaten and the primary ingredient is the recipe was (you guessed it) “Love.” It was a different kind of love than the world had ever truly experienced. God’s love is revolutionary because it is redemptive, unearned and holistic. While others were involved in a debate about who was holier, who was more righteous, Jesus was uprooting hatred and dispatched violence through love. It’s practical, astounding, freeing and, yes, revolutionary.
A Revolution of Love
But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Where does your mind go when it’s in idle? Our natural tendency is to go to places that we have experienced hurt, worry and uncertainty. We all have rehearsed future exchanges with enemies and rivals. We think, what could I have said that would straight this person out?
What could I do to get the upper hand in that relationship? How could I prove my own righteousness and legitimize my place in this situation or that predicament.” In short we have a taste of revenge. We can too quickly be drawn into greed, defensiveness and self-pity. When we go into those shadowy places of self-preservation we are on a collision course with something that goes against our natural bent. It’s the unconditional love of Jesus. This is the very essence of grace that draws us out of the path of destruction and draws us into the life Christ offers. We must ask ourselves, “Does my living, walking, doing and reacting square up with this teaching?”
A Revolution Against Hypocrisy
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck in your brother’s eye.
Have you ever known someone who was constantly on a witch hunt? There are people who gain a sick gratification through the process of analyzing, condemning and judging even their closest of friend. Many times this judgment never reaches the ears of the person being judged. In these two verses we see Jesus commending believers not to sit in judgment of other people. Jesus is saying, work on yourself, first and foremost. We can’t go into relationships say, “I bet I can fix this person.” And can I say this just between me and you? Nobody really wants to be your project. The first person in your life that God wants you to fix is you. This is so true when it comes to marriage. So many times couples come to me, asking how they can fix their spouse and I have to say, “Perhaps God is using the faults of your spouse to fix YOU! Maybe He wants to teach you about patience, meaningful dialogue, prayer, and unconditional love.” College is a great place to work on yourself so that you are ready to enter into a lifelong relationship. You’ll also find that once the two by four is out of your eye, you are able to watch God change the people whom you love because you are emotionally free and healthy.
A Revolution of Action
“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well-built.
In this ancient sermon, it becomes clear that Jesus is not looking for people just to tip their hats to Him. He’s doesn’t want people to simply affirm Him as a good teacher or as some sort of life coach that can tweak their lives. He wants to be Lord, not just hear the word “Lord.” Jesus posts a warning sign and the very end of this message. He says “Danger! Religion ahead!” Jesus didn’t come to establish another religion. He came to make dead people live. If you build too close to a sandy beach you will one day face a spiritual tsunami. So what is the sand you need to back away from? Is it self-reliance? An addiction you lean on more than God? Is it your physical appearance? Is it your popularity? We all have some beachfront property and it’s tempting to want to build on it. Please don’t.
Jesus wants the best for you, but often it doesn’t feel like it. Revolutionary living requires us to have a spiritual coup a regime change. Jesus desires more than anything for you to trust him. How do we trust Him? We say, “Lord,” but we don’t stop with that word. We treat Him as Lord. We live by this new life principle of love. We invite God to change our hearts and we stop trying to change other people. We make our core value to be the teachings of Jesus and we listen patiently to get direction from Him and not our baser instincts.