Beginning Again

I made the mistake today of reading from my childhood bible, which was the Children's Living Bible, a paraphrase that is out of print.

I say mistake because when I read a portion of scripture in Matthew 5 that I was very familiar with, the Living Bible used words that made me stop and think about the meaning in a fresh way.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?" CLB

Something about the word "scoundrels" made me pause, reread the words and ask, "Everyone really does love their friends? Can I honestly say I love people who aren't my friends?" 

I immediately thought about my neighbor who regularly yells at my kids if they get near her car when they play in the street. If I am honest, I don't really love her...

What would it mean for me to love this woman? 

Following Jesus should never be routine, and it should not be thought of as easy. Jesus always confronts us in our selfishness & lovelessness, and calls us to a higher way.

So are you ready to do a bit more than a scoundrel would?

(Also, if your reading is stale, maybe get out a different paraphrase and translation and see if it doesn't cause you to see new meaning in familiar texts.)

Grace & Peace,
Brad

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