Today’s texts are Genesis 16-17 and Matthew 5:27-48.
I was particularly struck by the instruction from God to Hagar to return to an abusive situation (with Sari) yet He blessed her and her descendants: Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count” (Genesis 16:9-10). I am not saying anyone in an abusive situation should remain there, but I recognize in this passage that pain and suffering do not negate God’s blessing.
What is God’s Word saying to me?
We may not experience such an abusive relationship as between Sari and Hagar, but we nonetheless experience a sharp word from someone or perhaps are recipients of a rude statement or a condescending attitude; and hey, contemporary psychology tells us to assert ourselves and not be a door mat for others to walk over. But might it be that, sometimes, what we consider to be “self-preservation” might be our own pride rearing it’s ugly head under the guise of biblical confrontation or emotional health? The bible remarks that Jesus was silent before his accusers, as a sheep is silent before its shearers. The bible also says that love covers a multitude of sins, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. I think we are given daily opportunity to grow deeper in Christian love, if only we see it as being under the tutelage of God’s hand rather than the sharp tongue of a friend. This, my dear disciple, is graduate-level Christianity!
What am I going to do about it?
In response to God’s covenant blessing to me, I wish to be slower to speak with offended, quick to forgive even if the person is unable to recognize the offense, and more humble as I am in just as much need of God’s grace as is my neighbor.
May our Master Jesus Christ be glorified in our daily lives as we conduct ourselves in a manner reflecting deep gratitude for God’s daily grace to us.