Monday, November 16, 2015

The Principles of Shalom

So if there’s anyone listening, let me say this to you:  Have compassion on the bad guys of your life.  Be nice to the mean ones.  Answer well those who cuss you out.  Pray blessings on those who insult and abuse you.  If a cop pushes you, give him the opportunity to beat you up.  If a creditor steals money from you, offer him the rest of your account.  If the government demands something from you, give it freely.  And if a cop steals what is yours, don’t demand it back.  In whatever good way you want people to treat you, treat them that way, no matter how badly treat you. 
            Look, if you only feel good about those who feel good about you, do you think God will bless you for that?  Everyone, no matter how bad they are, love those who love them.  If you do good things only to those who do good to you, do you think God will bless you for that?  Everyone, no matter how evil, does the same.  If you loan out money only to people who will pay you back, do you think God will bless you for that?  Evil people loan out money for a return, plus interest. 
            You can do better than that.  Love the people you find most unlovable.  Act with compassion toward them and lend them money—yes, I know you won’t get the money back.  Just do it, knowing that you won’t get anything back for it, not even a thanks.  But you will get more back than you would ever expect, but that from God.  If you do this, you will be acting like God, the Lord of the Universe—because He, too, does compassionate acts for those who never thank Him and who do the very worst acts on earth.  So be compassionate to the same extent God is.
            Don’t condemn others and you won’t be condemned by God.  Don’t punish for punishment’s sake and you won’t be punished by God, either.  If you release someone from a grudge, God will release you.  Give freely to those in need—no matter who they are—and God will give freely to you.  It’s kinda like a keg party.  Take, let’s say a third of keg of beer and give it to your friends.  They will take it, shake it up until it fills the keg and then pour it all over you—much more than you gave them!  Even so, the amount of compassion you give to those who don’t deserve it will be poured right back on you!
Luke 6:25-38, SKV

Jesus is the Prince of shalom, the emperor through which peace and justice comes.  Not only does he bring it physically, among his people, but Jesus also has given some principles upon which shalom can be built among his people. 

Jesus didn’t come to deliver individuals into shalom, but to create a nation of shalom.  We cannot see the grace of God as only visiting individuals, but God is creating a community through Jesus who will be able to make a community of peace and justice among themselves.

Be ready
The people of God are to keep one eye on this world and one eye on the world that is to come.  The meeting point between these two worlds is the judgment of God.  Those who showed themselves faithful to Jesus and God will be delivered into God’s kingdom of shalom.  So to be ready, we must follow the other principles of shalom to show that we are ready to be a part of God’s shalom.

The first principle of life is faithfulness to God.  If we live with our eyes on God, always concerned with our faithfulness and devotion to Him in all aspects of our lives, then we will be ready to experience God’s shalom, instead of the shalom of the world.  We also maintain faithfulness to others—our spouses, friends, family and all others.  Whatever promises or commitments we have made to them, in our relationship with them, we keep.

Do not harm
We make a point not to do anything hateful to another, with a purpose to harm them.  No matter what they have done to us, we do not do harm in return.  This may put us in a position of vulnerability, but we must trust that God will care for us and avenge us when necessary, not taking such actions on ourselves.

Treating others with respect
Some we are obligated to respect—our betters, our leaders.  But we are also to respect those whom the world does not respect, the outcast and shamed.  If we provide respect to all, then all will receive welcome and hope and shalom.

Meeting other’s needs
We are not just to not give harm, but to offer respect to others, but we must also give compassion to others when they are in need.  We need to feel their pain and seek to do what we can to help.  Then, we should share what resources we have to help others.  This empathy and open handedness is summarized in the Greek word, koinonia.

Equality of justice
Finally, Jesus emphasizes that these community principles—faithfulness, no harm, respect and koinonia—are not just for those like us, but for everyone, even if some fail, even if some are irritating, act hatefully occasionally and are occasionally faithless.  Respect and assistance is to be granted to everyone without exception.

If we are in Jesus, we are to live out these principles, create communities that live these principles out and teach it to others.  In this way, we are to accomplish God’s shalom for ourselves, our communities and, eventually, the entire world

1 comment:

  1. The SKV. That's a good version. Thank you for calling me to Peace today. I need it.