~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith
View all posts by Susan Barnes
I’m off to doing an evening shift at the library. Be back later.
I wrote that last comment in such a hurry that I didn’t notice the spelling mistake. I wish you could edit your own comments.
I’ve been thinking about “heaping burning coals on his head” which the Message puts it like this: “Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.” (actually this is in chapter 12 but I couldn’t think of anything to say about chapter 13).
It seems to me that it is about surprising our enemy with goodness. I think Jesus did this all the time. He was always doing surprising things – turning water into wine, upsetting the religious people, confronting the rich young ruler etc. Even in the OT Noah was building a boat miles from shore and the sun was stopping and going backwards – all very surprising. I’ve never understood the WWJD (What would Jesus do)thing. How on earth do you know what Jesus would do? He was always doing the spontaneous, unexpected thing. And i think this is how evil is defeated.
When we face an enemy he should have no idea about how we are going to respond. We may turn the other cheek; we may confront him over his evil actions; we may excommunicate him. Because we are free, we are free to follow the Spirit’s promptings and respond in the way that most meets the enemy’s need at that moment. The element of surprise is with us.
this chapter really has got me thinking about stuff
1. all the laws are summd up into one:love your neighbor. That seems so cut and dry and yet we constantly seem to ignore it here in the american church.
2. submitting to authorities. this just doesnt seem right sometimes. if we think our government has led us into a wrong war, screwed the entire population on healthcare, social security, etc, how hard is it for us to really humbly submit to them…
and for us cynical ones who really thik the gov. isnt doing its job, what would be the results of us humbly submitting to it?
sorry about my lapse in comments. i have been reading and following along. it has been a season of deep contemplation and stillness. i am now, howver, ready to speak. hopefully you’ll get back to this.
i have a hard time with this chapter for several reasons. first of all, i don’t like human authority too much. can i be subject to them? absolutely. but what do we do if obeying these people wounds our conscience? what then?
when paul wrote this, he was speaking to the romans about their government in rome. period. i think there can be modern application of this to be sure, but let’s not forget context. i think in applying this as a hard and fast rule, much damage has been done as the church champions the government and obeys them to whatever end they are going for without utilizing discernment.
because what of this war in iraq and its results? i have no doubt in my mind that all of this is being done under the guise of “self defense” and “freedom”. but there seems to be a very sinister underhand behind it all. how can i hear the word “freedom” when to ensure this “freedom” i must needs give up many rights and true freedoms to a government that i cannot trust?
i’m not sure what your news in austrailia shows about this, but i don’t think this is going to end well at all. (at least for us in the u.s.) slowly, VERY slowly, we are giving up our freedoms left and right to a system to “protect” us. if left unchecked, this is going to become a police state.
god help us if it comes to that.
I’m thinking that for me to continue to talk about the Iraq war is really me talking out the depths of my ignorance which is not something I like to do. As far as I know only one Australian has died in the Iraq War and although we regularly hear reports of casualities etc. generally speaking the war is not, at this time, impacting our lives. I understand your concerns about losing freedoms in order to be “free”. While that issue is discussed from time to time in the Australian media we don’t seem to be in danger of losing any of our freedoms at the moment.
In Acts 5:29 Peter says, “We must obey God rather than men!” and as you say at times like these we really need God to give us discernment.
I take comfort in Psalm 2:1-4 where the kings of earth and rulers (and governments) plot and plan but God just laughs at them because ultimately He is the one in charge and His plans cannot be thwarted.
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