It is All in Our Perspective
You have heard if said... (The Beatitudes) Matthew 5
We hear phrases all of the time like “The cup is half full…” or is it “the cup is half empty?” “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” These phases all revolve around how we see things. Do we try to find the best out of a bad situation or do we focus on the negative despite the good that surrounds us?
This last week I was working out on a Saturday morning, the Saturday where it was 95 degrees and with 45% humidity and I thought I was going to die, not because of the heat, but because of the humidity. The funny thing is growing up in Indiana we often had days where the humidity would be 85-90%, the kind of humidity where you need to take a shower from your shower because it is so humid that you sweat simply getting out of the shower. However, having lived in Southern California and now Arizona for the last 14 years, low humidity is something I take for granted.
I leave in just three days to lead 21 senior high students on an international mission trip to Belize. As we prepare for our trip I have been telling our team that it is going to be hot and humid there, like nothing we experience in Arizona. With temperatures during the day in the mid 90’s and the humidity around 90-100%, it will be a new kind of hot for many of our students. In my mind, I am prepared for the weather in Belize and I can justify it because it is Belize, but if that same humidity hit Arizona I would probably “die.” On the other side of things when it drops to 50 degrees here people talk about “freezing to death.” (note: 32 degrees is freezing.)
In Jesus’ day people had a way of living, rules found in the Old Testament that if you followed them meant that you were “good.” So you could do things, but hate doing it, or do them, simply because you had to do them and that would make you “good.” When Jesus starts his public ministry he starts off by giving what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. His very first sermon He challenges people to change the reality in which they know.
He says over and over, “You have heard it was said…” “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But then he adds “But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastely, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” You have heard it said… You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord. But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God…” “You have heard it said…‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
When Jesus came to earth, he became a game changer. Instead of a distant God who only reacted to our behavior, we saw a God who loved us so much that He would come to earth and later die so that we might live. People often look at Christianity as a religion of rules to follow, things to do, but if that is how you see it, you are missing the point. The rules that are given in the Bible don’t determine whether or not we get to heaven, the rules are given to us so that we might fully experience God’s love here on earth.
We know that we are not perfect. God knows we are not perfect, that is why He sent Jesus to die for our sins. God’s wants us to be people of joy and grace and love, not people of fear, hatred and anger. Jesus came so that we might see God as a loving God, not as a God who is out to get us when we do something wrong. The Bible is not a book of do and don’ts. It is a guide to how we can live life and live it to its fullest knowing that when we mess up, God’s grace will stretch beyond our sin.
To do that we have to be willing to change how we see each other with the same grace, joy and love that God see us.