Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 9: Giving Up Your Rights

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 9 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with the question of, “How are friendships formed?”

Read: Matthew 5:38-42 & Luke 6:29-30

In His next subject, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus opens the topic of just compensation for personal injury with a statement concerning physical injury, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Lev 24:20). Then He challenges His disciples to take a different view. By using four cases of personal injury Jesus demonstrates that He wants them to be generous people, those who do not demand their rights.

The first case involves mental and emotional injuries received by a disciple. Jesus said, “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” A clenched fist indicates that a fight is occurring. A slap is done with an open hand. It conveys the idea of an insult. It is used to humiliate someone or provoke a fight.

Turning the cheek is an Aramaic idiom meaning “don’t start a fight or quarrel.” It takes two people to fight or have a quarrel. If the injured person does not retaliate then there is no fight or quarrel. Jesus wants His disciples to give up their right to be right. God will vindicate the righteous.

The second case involves harm caused by a disciple. Jesus said, “And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.” In this case the injured party is seeking a stated compensation for injury but has not gone to court yet to collect it. Jesus tells the disciples to meet the demand and give even more. The reason for it is to produce friendship with the injured person. Jesus wants His disciples to give up the right to personal legal protection when they have wronged someone. God will see that justice is done.

The third case involves lack of compensation for services rendered by a disciple. Jesus said, “And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.” Going the second mile means doing more than what is required. Jesus wants His disciples to give up the right to compensation for use of their time and talents. God will reward.

Loaning something the disciple has, to someone who asks for it is the fourth case. On the surface this appears rather easy. It is Luke 6:30 that declares the truth of the matter, “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.” It involves the loss of the disciple’s property. Jesus wants His disciples to give up the right of return of their property. God is the owner of all things.

In each case, Jesus asked His disciples to do more than was required. In other words, they were to give gifts or bless others. Jesus wants his disciples to be like their Father in heaven, generous, people of an open hand. They should not grasp the things of this world or hold onto their rights, for their Father in heaven shall reward them.

The point of the lesson, and the answer to the proposed question, “How are friendships formed?, is to do more than is required.

With that, allow me to leave you with this question to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:

“What does the word love mean to you?”

. . . and the homework assignment . . .

Put others before yourself, be wronged, do more than is required of you.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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