By: Danny Wallace
Jesus said some crazy stuff. Listen to this little bit He shared about what to do with people who sue you for your shirt, and for that arrogant and evil guy who just hauls off and slaps you in the face…
“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.”
By every standard that religion deems to be right and holy today this kind of talk is sheer, left wing, liberal, lunacy! It’s a good thing that Jesus has already endured the crucifixion, because if He were here saying that same stuff today we would nail Him to a tree quicker than you could say, “Heretic!”
It seems that every time I read the words of Jesus or witness a single one of His deeds upon the earth I realize that there’s not an organized church in America that would let Him speak in their pulpit. That “turning water into wine” business before His time had even come to perform a miracle would be enough to settle that decision for all of those who declare themselves to be among “the religious right.”
After all, every person who left that wedding falling down drunk is on His hands. What Jesus did for that wedding host is the equivalent to one of our top-rated evangelists showing up at a party and spending ministry funds to buy a truckload of the finest wine when the host of the party miscalculated and forgot to order enough. Every drunk driver on the street who left that party today would render that evangelist “unemployable” in every Christian circle tomorrow. Trust me, it would play the same for Jesus.
But what about when Jesus said crazy things to the religious leaders of His day like…
“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his Grace.
The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what they want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and He knows better than you what you need.”
You won’t hear any of this kind of talk from the “Law saviors” of religion. This kind of talk doesn’t fit with the exclusive monikers we choose to wear like, “conservative, Godly, or fundamental. I motto is “Be loud, and be recognized!” Jesus gave up everything to die alone, for the sins of the world. Yeah, that Jesus said some crazy stuff. The love He gives, and the sacrifice He made – the craziest of them all. It takes crazy love to save the world.