Wrong fruit consumption is the real issue. I know I reference this often but I do believe that our consumption of the knowledge of good and evil is the problem that needs a solution. Jesus is the solution. Do we see the problem?
Balance and human justice and personal fairness are products of good and evil judgments. Fallen humans need a payment. If someone wrongs us we need it righted. If someone takes our stuff it isn’t enough to pay it back. Our fallen nature requires a punishment. The person that stole from us needs to feel emotional pain and suffering to balance the cosmic moral code. That is a human thing.
If someone hurts us emotionally or physically it isn’t enough for them to say “I’m sorry.” They need to pay. Apologies are nice but we are only satisfied when the other feels more pain so then I know they get it and won’t do it to me again, or else. That is a human thing.
If someone says something about me I need it corrected. It isn’t enough for them to retract what they have said. They need to do it publicly. Actually it is best if they admit how stupid they were to say it in the first place. If they add some complimentary remarks then justice is served. That is a human thing.
If I witness an offense like a greater oppressing a lesser I rise to the occasion to partner with the offense of the lesser. In some way that is a good thing. But then I must have some fallen human justice. I will not be satisfied until the greater repays the lesser until the roles are reversed. Then the fairness requirement has been met. That is a human thing.
When I see one people group against another people group I use my knowledge-of-good-and-evil judgment-mechanism to pick a side. I pick the side that most identifies with me. Gays or straits? Blacks or whites? Irish or English? Muslim or Christian? Catholic or Protestant? Democrat or Republican? Jew or Samaritan? That is a human thing.
None of that kind of stuff is a God response. His Godly Judgement and Godly Justice are very different. God reconciles and restores. He liberates and loves. He comes with compassion. Jesus is His revelation to us. Jesus is the exact representation of God to man. Jesus only does and says what He sees and hears His Father doing and saying. Jesus did what He did for us on Earth as a man filled with God and in harmony with God. Jesus knew His Father like no other. He knew His goodness. He knew His kindness. He knew His love. He reveals all of that to us. In doing so WE rejected Him to the point of death. Jesus willingly gave up His life so we would know His love when He had every “right” as a “human” to do what “humans” do. Instead He let mankind kill Him and forgave all of mankind in the process. He let mankind reject Him and He is raised from the dead to live inside of the same.
This is what Jesus said:
Matt 5:39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (ESV)
This was radical teaching. This was contrary to everything they knew and we still know today. Even their religion (and ours) was turned upside down by this kind of teaching. This is the way of the born again believer. This is the way of the mind of Christ. This is the way of a new creation. This is mankind dying to live. This is being last to be first. This is being a servant instead of being served. Jesus doesn’t stop there:
Matt 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (ESV)
Do you understand how contrary this was to the Nation of Israel? Their entire history was based on killing their enemies. They would pray for no rain on the “unjust.” They would curse anyone not like them. Now Jesus upsets the balance. Jesus contradicts the fallen-human understanding of God. Yes, that is right. The Old Testament is an inspired record of how a fallen-human understanding and approach is exactly opposite of what God would do. God is so amazing and merciful and gracious He lets them blame Him for all the violence and atrocities they purposed in their own hearts. I plan to give many more examples but if you want a preview check out the Elijah story in these posts.
Jesus finishes this upside down revelation by this statement:
Matt 5;48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (ESV)
If you are still looking through the lens of the knowledge-of-good-and-evil you will miss what Jesus is saying. Step back, open your eyes wide and “see Jesus.” What is He really saying? Knowing that God’s purpose is relationship, His motivation is relationship, His language is relationship, He made us for relationship, what is He saying? Got it?
We are perfect as He is perfect when everything we do is out of love, His love.
That is upside down thinking. That is what Jesus did.
Growing up in the south hate language was normal. I would hear racist language at the store, at the park, in my home, in my church. It was normal. I would chime in because that is just what you do. Honestly I must say it never set well with me. In the Navy we cursed everything and everyone. Sometimes in jest. Other times in earnest. Everyone not of our country was a potential enemy. Again I chimed in just like everyone else. I am a bit of an overachiever so I could “one up” the cursing better than most. Still, if I am honest with myself, it never really resonated within me. When I had the periodic bought with guilt I would take the family to “church” for a season. Even there I would hear the language. Homosexuals, muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, pot smokers, druggies, prostitutes, fornicators…wow the list goes on and on. Yep, I would join in just like the rest. Still something just wasn’t right inside.
Now years later I am free from that stuff. 50 years old and I am just now learning what it means to be free, free indeed. Finally I surrendered to God’s love. I let Jesus love me and show me how special I am to Him. I asked, pleaded, begged for the Holy Spirit to make His home is me in a way I would know His presence always. Now I know a new heart. I know the mind of Christ. I did nothing in my effort. I surrendered to His.
Here is the best news, really good news, as a matter of fact it is Gospel. Love came to Earth and rescues us from our fallen nature. Jesus gives us a new heart and His mind. He makes us a new creation infused with His love. He makes His home in us where His love in us is our motivation. Love comes to us. If we let him (see the last post) then His truth of love will set us free indeed from our desire and tendencies for human justice. Instead we will be motivated and encouraged by Godly justice. As His children we are empowered and have the authority to bring Godly justice. Is there anything better than that? Instead of hating my enemy I can see them restored. Instead of hurting my adversary I can see them set free. Instead of requiring a payback I can provide for someone who is in need. Instead of demanding an apology I can give forgiveness.
This is who God really is. He is Jesus. He is upside down in love.