Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Transforming initiative

First, Matthew's Jesus points us to the traditional teaching of the Ten Commandments against murder. Second he diagnoses ongoing anger and insulting as a vicious cycle that leads to judgment (5:22). No imperative, no command against anger, is present. Rather, its central verb is a continuous-action participle. (Had the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount commanded us never to be angry, that would have been a hard teaching, a high ideal, impossible to practice. Instead he diagnoses a vicious cycle that leads to judgment, destruction, and murder, as when a doctor diagnoses an illness that will lead to death if I do not take actions of treatment.) The third member of the triad, vv. 23–26, is the transforming initiative—not merely a negative prohibition of murder or anger, but a way of deliverance. It is a command to take initiatives that transform the relationship from anger to peacemaking.—Glenn Stassen (emphasis original)

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