Thursday, August 21, 2008

Relational Brokeness

G. K. Chesterton once said that the easiest theological truth in the world to prove is the reality of sin. This often becomes a central theme in our morning discussions at Bud's Warehouse. Individuals that are attempting to rebuild lives from addiction or prison have had a front row seat to witnessing the worst that life can throw at you. They understand physical and sexual abuse. They have seen relationships torn apart by bad decisions or selfishness. They understand what it is to hurt someone else. They know sin and its ugly effects.

For the last three weeks, we have been on a slow journey of looking at Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. We are starting with the idea that if we are disciples of Jesus Christ, we really want to examine what he teaches and try to apply it to our own lives.

This morning we were looking at issues of how we relate to others around us. It's not controversial to believe that one should not kill, commit adultery or leave a marriage. Like the contemporaries of Jesus who heard his sermon in person, we instinctively know that these are wrong. But Jesus only uses that as a starting point. The real issue lies with what is in the heart. Simply being angry with a brother is akin to murder. Looking at a man or women lustfully is adultery. Divorce isn't the easy way out of a marriage but an evil that leads to great harm to women.

One would expect these teachings to be hard. Indeed, in certain subsets of our culture, these teachings are repulsive. But to individuals who have seen first hand how broken relationships, adultery and divorce have severely battered their own lives, they thirst for strength to choose the better way. We ask towards the end of each study whether Jesus' teachings are easy or hard to do. Half of the group says it's easy because Jesus provides the example and the Holy Spirit provides the strength. The other half says it is hard because much in the world including our relationships and very selves work against us. I think both views are right…both point to Jesus as redeemer.

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