My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 12-14-2020

If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also.  If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.  Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. . . . And if you lend money . . . . Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.” (Luke 6:29-30, 34-35 NLT).

In France, due to my not knowing the culture, a man slapped my face because he thought I had insulted him.  I was not expecting his reaction, and although it stung, I did deserve it.  He left, so I did not turn the other cheek.  Later I did think about what Jesus said.  I have lent money, let others use tools, or borrowed furniture items and never had them returned.  I wanted to ask some for a return but did not have the opportunity.  Thankfully, I have never had someone to ask me for my house.  I have never had anyone to ask me for my bank account or my car.  I might remember Jesus’ words if that happened, but I doubt if I would willingly turn over anything to that person.  Even if the person quoted Jesus’ statement from Luke 6, and scolded me for my disobedience, it would not move me to gift him with those items.  Would I justify myself for not honoring that possible freeloader?  More than likely.  Was Jesus talking about that kind of experience?  Probably not.  Yet, there are some who would not question that individual, but freely give it all, then step aside without question, believing he was doing God’s will.  Maybe so.

Most people find letters in their mailbox each week asking for money.  Most requests are lawful, and they are doing a legitimate work.  Yet, I do not respond to all although I have helped a few.  The problem with some is that they want a certain amount each month rather than a one-time contribution.  Was Jesus saying in Luke 6 that I must help because I am asked?  Some will ask because they know they can make enough money on a street corner in less time than working to earn that same amount.   Paul told the Thessalonian church that if a man would not work, he should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  Was Paul contradicting Jesus.  Perhaps we are missing the context of both passages.

So, despite certain circumstances not being discussed in a passage, there are times and conditions where some people do not deserve our help.  These are not the people Jesus is referring to.  Jesus fed 3,000 on one occasion and 5,000 on another.  Yet, he did not continue to feed them.  When the free food was no longer available, their hearing ability dried up and they left.  Out of all those thousands, the only remaining number was 12 (John 6:67).  Did Jesus contradict his own teaching?  No, again context must be examined.

There are preachers who will tell their audience that if they will give him one hundred dollars, God will return two hundred to them.  So, people will respond with that amount of cash or more.  When it is not doubled after a month or more and they complain, they hear the rest of the story.  “You were not rewarded because you had doubts.”  The preacher is a hundred dollars richer and the giver has been religiously scammed.  So, be careful what you hear or believe (Mark 12:22; 1 John 4:1).  There are people who may ASK who have no intentions of working for a living.  If you feel compelled to give, that is your choice.  However, you may find that person has friends who also know how to ASK!  Each passage has its own context and there is a reason behind what is being said.  Too often people miss that context and end up believing something different from what was being taught.  I could be wrong on that, and if so, I’ll turn the other cheek so it can be slapped!