“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 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. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:38-48
Dark, cool, balmy, the pre-dawn is still and quiet, save for an occasional singular deep tone from the wind chimes. A flock of small birds sweeps across close and fast, silhouetted, in a whispering swoosh. Moments pass, barely a movement, then another single note, this one higher. Listen, with your heart.
The world has standards that in a divine economy are a lowest common denominator. Do this, and you will get by, deemed alright, because you’ll blend in with the crowd. But our Lord sets a higher standard, Christ-likeness, and this sets us a notch higher and different from the world. As His children, we have a different Spirit, and so we think differently, respond differently, behave distinctly from the majority of those who do not know Him. How true is this of you and me?
When we hear a statement or accusation pointed at a sore spot, are we touchy and quickly offended, and do we react with excuses or retaliation? Or do we consider how our Savior was ridiculed, falsely accused and taunted for us, and turn the other cheek? (Isaiah 53:3-7)
Do we run fast and loud with a crowd who hates those who hate truth, who condemns those with different belief systems or nontraditional lifestyles? Do we desire to cancel those that cancel us? (Really?) Or do we look for areas of common interest and connection? Will we pray, not just for all to seek truth, but for soft hearts toward them and ways to love and shine light? (Matthew 5:16; John 13:34)
But for God’s grace, we would all be stuck on the low note. By that same grace, let’s lift it higher.
Elevate my thoughts, Lord, lift my love higher. Shift Your Spirit breeze to raise my tone and tune. Where I’ve been complacent, shake me. Where I’ve settled for courtesy over genuine interest, strike me. Where I’ve settled into ease and safety, jar me to risk for You and others. Where I’ve thoughtlessly moved through hours, engage my intentions with Yours. Make holy music in the way I live and love, to honor You.