Christians live in the tension of turning the other cheek and not letting people use us.
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“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:11 English Standard Version
Have you ever wondered what horses thinks when you peer at them in their corral? I got the feeling that this horse was saying to me, “Oh, no you don’t. Don’t even think about getting out a saddle and riding me! You’ll find yourself eating dirt faster than you can say, ‘Getty up!'”
We’ve probably given that same look to others.
“Oh, no you don’t! You’re not going to use me today!”
“Oh, no you don’t! You don’t get to ignore me today!”
“Oh, no you don’t! I’ll make you pay for it if you do!”
There is tension in John’s words.
We live in a constant tension between giving ourselves to others and not being used. Our goal in this tension is not to resolve it but to manage it. In other words, we going to face situations where we’ll need to say, “Oh, no you don’t,” and other times when we say, “Take my cloak as well.”
Living in that tension means living by grace. There will be times when we say, “Oh, no you don’t” when we should have said, “Take my cloak as well,” and vice versa. We won’t always get it right.
Fortunately, there is One who got it right for us. It is God, through Christ, who has loved us, and in that love set us free to express love even if we don’t get it right all the time.
Copyright Douglas P Brauner