Children of Our Father (23 May)

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too. And if someone takes you to court to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles. When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something, lend it to him. You have heard that it was said, "Love your friends, hate your enemies." But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be perfect-just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:38-48

The news for the day: murders, thefts, war, colonization, enmity, and economic problems. These are the daily headlines in countries all over the world. People sometimes wonder why all this happens. According to the Bible, it is due to man's sinful nature: lack of mercy, murder, slavery, taking credit from banks to fulfill our materialistic lust, robberies resulting from the hatred of others and the love of money. The solution to these problems is found in these verses. They carry truths from the mouth of our great Teacher Jesus Christ. Jesus offered us these teachings to move us forward towards a better life. He said, "I have come in order that you might have life-life in all its fullness." (John 10:10).

We face many problems and conflicts when we encounter people who are still under the sway of the devil. We often think that we should respond in the same manner in order to avoid appearing weak. However, Jesus Christ asks us not to respond to evil with evil, but rather with forgiveness. If we are not able to counter evil with forgiveness, we should flee from it, because trying to face it could cause us to stumble. Jesus goes even further by commanding us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to be kind to those who hate us, and even to pray for those who persecute us. Jesus knew how hard that would be, but he gives us an incentive to act in this manner: "so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven."

May God help us all to live as children of our Father in heaven.

- 23 MAY -

© 2012 United Bible Societies - Palestinian Bible Society, Bible Society in Israel, and Arab Israeli Bible Society. All rights reserved.