Livin’ like Jesus in a Rock ’em Sock ’em World

This was the title of my teaching tonight for 7th + 8th graders at Mars Hill
and as with any teaching I think I learned way more than I could have ever hoped to share.

I have learned to recognize this dance we dance, and game we play,
to outdo the other in the hurt they have caused us.
A dance and game that never ends if it is continually fed by revenge or passivity.
The cycle cannot be broken with revenge or violence or by standing and taking it.
For those are the myths of redemptive violence and pacifism.

Jesus says in Matthew 5,
You have heard it said, an eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth.
But I tell you” a different way, a better way, a third way.
Jesus then goes on to show us what this new way is all about.
A way that reclaims and restores the humanity of both victim and attacker.
A way that confronts evil with good.
A way that calls each to bear in mind the others humanity as an image bearer.

In this Jesus essentially asks, why even play this game?
Why retaliate? Why would you keep running away and ignoring these situations?
Why even play this game, where one must lose for the other to win and vice-versa?

We are called to break the cycle and work to restore humanity.
We just celebrated the Resurrection, this ultimate example of a third way.
Jesus breaks the hold of sin and death while restoring humanity in relation to God.
Jesus could have acted in revenge but he didn’t.
Jesus broke the cycle while offering us a new way to interact in this world.

When we work to break this cycle, the resurrection becomes part of our lives.
We practice resurrection in helping to restore humanity.
This is how Jesus taught us to respond when people hurt us.
Its not easy or clear cut but it is a better way.
And one I am learning to embrace.

How do you practice resurrection? How are you breaking the cycle?

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