I have chosen this week to link you to the Message version of the text. I found it to be a great way to get the concept of what Jesus was on about.. This speech of Jesus is trying to transition people from the concept of law – we only don’t do something because it is against the law to a much bigger concept of wisdom..
These couple of readings are looking at what Christian living is about. What does it look like with flesh on? Jesus here is trying to connect the laws into why we have the laws and that the problem often starts long before we think they do..
I love how the message concludes the first section by saying ” The simple moral fact is that words kill.” It is easy when there is law to get caught up in who is right and who is wrong, debates can go in forever, Jesus reminds us it is better to sort it out as soon as you can and be careful what you say.. Your gifts to God are pretty useless if you haven’t sorted things out with those you love..
I wonder if you could read the second section of the reading about divorce and lust to be more than that.. If you see in the image the woman walking away has no face and hands yet the woman he is with does have. I wonder if part of it is about not appreciating and respecting what you have but instead being distracted and drawn to the other things we don’t know.
This final reading is one I carry in my heart always the simple fact of your yes being yes and your no being no.. the idea of a signpost was important for me in this image because you need to be able to trust them to send you in the right direction. Our words point people in directions and people need to be able to trust that what we say is what we mean. This is not always easy, sometimes I have to change the topic and avoid the question if I am unable to speak truthfully at that time. At times I have also had to say to people you might not like the answer to the question I am giving you, but I will try to tell the truth when you ask me.
All these ideas change the way we live, it is not just about adhering to the law but also about understanding why we have the law. I am reminded about the speeding example, I can get a fine and eventually lose my liscence for speeding, but realistically if I speed my reaction time is shortened and I am not able to stop as quick as I can in an emergency. It is about changing the way I live not just watching my speed when there is a speed camera. It makes a difference when we live with wisdom, truth and integrity but that doesn’t always make it easy.