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What to do for others

Cross thoughts: Christian ideas seen in Sudanese every day life.

Jesus said: “Always do for other people everything you want them to do for you. That is (the meaning of) Moses’ teaching and the Prophets.”

Matthew 7:12, God's Word translation 1995.

It is easy enough to obey these words of Jesus when we think about inviting friends out for coffee or other refreshments.

It becomes much more difficult when we think about becoming friends with those who may have killed our close relatives, people we may have grown up believing to be our enemies.

Jesus was talking to His disciples, to those who were disciplined in their lives, learning to live the way their Master, Jesus, wanted them to live (Matthew 5:1-2).

He had already spoken about people becoming spiritual peacemakers by concentrating more on heaven than on earth for rewards (Matthew 5:3-12).

Next Jesus taught about the immense value – and considerable influence on all around – in being able to live an attractively different lifestyle from the surrounding community of ordinary people (Matthew 5:13-16).

There follows a deep searching of life’s values, about right living and the Old Testament Law (Matthew 5:17-20), about anger and murder, both very relevant to the question above: how can we forgive those who have hurt us so badly? (Matthew 5:21-26).

Jesus gives five examples of the toughness and right choices needed to keep His sharpening the application of the Old TestamentLaws, applying to sexual fidelity (Matthew 5:27-39), the breakdown of marriage (Matthew 5:31-32), always speaking the truth (Matthew 5:33-37), and loving, especially loving your enemies. Once more this last one is especially relevant to Jesus’ words above (Matthew 5:43-48).

In the section before our text above Jesus alternates between teaching on personal prayer and stewardship of money (Matthew 6:1-34). He pointedly turns towards how wrong we are to set ourselves up as judge and jury on others, for their wrongs, while not being aware of our own awful wrongdoings before the holy God (Matthew 7:1-6).

Finally Jesus arrives at these words above, after encouraging us to pray about things, seeking God’s will, and knowing beyond doubt that God will give the right answer, even if it not the one we might first choose for ourselves! (Matthew 7:7-11).

Jesus’ summary challenge to us is (Matthew 7:12) - read the verse at the top above.

Or, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31,

from similar verses 20-49, NIV).

July 2012.


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