Day 26 | Matthew 5:40-41 | Be merciful in all circumstances


**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see.

Passage: Matthew 5:40

40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.  (NLT)

Thoughts:

Here we have the same concept as in the prior verses but now Jesus is taking it to a different playing field. He’s trying to show us that this idea of passiveness or nonresistance works in all aspects of life. Each time he is directly addressing instances that were real to the people he spoke with. Also note that he is not giving them a new concept but bringing them back to a truth that was always there. (Exo 22:26-27)

26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as security for a loan, you must return it before sunset. 27 This coat may be the only blanket your neighbor has. How can a person sleep without it? If you do not return it and your neighbor cries out to me for help, then I will hear, for I am merciful. (NLT)

Now let’s set the scene culturally…

The poorest people of the Empire (e.g., most peasants in Egypt) had only an inner and outer garment, and the theft of a cloak would lead to legal recourse. Although conditions in first-century Palestine were not quite that bad, this verse could indicate divestiture of all one’s possessions, even (*hyperbolically) one’s clothes, to avoid a legal dispute affecting only oneself. Jesus gives this advice in spite of the fact that, under Jewish law, a legal case to regain one’s cloak would have been foolproof: a creditor could not take a poor person’s outer cloak, which might serve as one’s only blanket at night as well as a coat (Exo_22:26-27). IVP Bible Background Commentary

Having ones outer garment taken would to some mean having everything they owned taken. Surely Jesus would tell them that in THIS case it is okay to fight back and claim what is rightfully theirs; but no, he once again asks them/us to fight evil with good. Imagine how that court battle would go if you followed this principle…

Judge: “This is the case of Joe, the plaintiff, versus Fred, the defendant. Joe is claiming that Fred has stolen the only jacket he had to keep him warm.”

Judge: “Fred, how do you plead!”

Fred: “Not guilty your honor!”

Judge: “Joe, what proof do you have that this fine jacket that Fred is wearing belongs to you?”

Joe: “Well sir, I am not wearing a jacket for one. Secondly, did you notice how the sleeves don’t quite fit Fred’s arms?”

Fred: “That proves nothing! I have simply grown since I first purchased this jacket”

Judge: “Order in the court. Fred, do not speak out of turn!”

Fred: “Sorry your honor.”

Judge: “Proceed with your testimony Joe.”

Joe: “My final offer of proof sir, is this…I can prove the jacket is mine because it has my name sown into the lining.”

Fred: “What! That can’t be possible…[stuttering]..this is my jacket!” I swear it belongs to me!”

Judge: “Fred, please remove the jacket and bring it to me.”

Fred: “But your honor, this is my jacket. I don’t want to take it off.”

Judge: “Fred, remove the jacket and bring it to me now or risk being in contempt of court!”

Fred: “Okay, here you go…”

Judge: “I see here that Joe is right, his initials are sewn into the lining of this jacket. I will now render my verdict and penalty. Joe, I find that this jacket is yours and that Fred should not only give it back to you but should pay you $500 dollars for pain and suffering as well as spend 2 nights in jail for theft.”

Fred: [desperately] “Your honor, please no! I can’t go to jail! I have children. Have mercy!”

Judge: “You are guilty of theft, this is what you deserve.”

Joe: “Sir, if I may say something please…”

Judge: “Go ahead.”

Joe: “I wish to drop all charges against Fred.”

Judge: [confounded] “Whuut?”

Joe: “I would also like to let him have the coat and I would like to take him to a tailor so that it can be fitted for him more comfortably. I don’t want him to go to jail…I know that he has children to take care of sir. I would also like to give him $500 dollars to help him to care for his family.”

Fred: [crying] “How can this be…I stole from you…I don’t deserve this kindness.”

Joe: [with tears in his own eyes] “The One who allowed me to have that coat has asked me to always be willing to give mercy and kindness to everyone, ESPECIALLY those that do bad to me. I would like to tell you more about the One who gave me that coat and who taught me mercy…would you like to hear more?”

Fred: “Yes, I sure would! Thank you Joe, I will never forget this.”

Judge: “Case dismissed!”

Again, I ask, what would the outcome have been if we did it our way instead of God’s way?

Prayer:

Lord, when I see Your Grace and mercy and love I am overwhelmed by it. It is so amazing! Now I ask for a power greater than myself to give me the ability to have that kind of grace and mercy for those that do wrong to me. Change my heart Lord as only you can….

Lord, I ask for your forgiveness and I accept it based on Your promise to forgive. Thank you for showing me the mercy that I do not deserve. Thank you for supplying me with a “coat” and everything else that I have. You’re an awesome God!

Please be with all of the prayer requests on the prayer list. Keep my family safe and bring them all closer to You. Thank you for your sacrifice. Amen.

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6 thoughts on “Day 26 | Matthew 5:40-41 | Be merciful in all circumstances

  1. Yep… I prefer God’s way as well. Satan, the Accuser, always wants to defeat Gods’ Government. That is because God’s government is based totally upon Love.

    Just think about this… God, the All powerful, can do whatever He wishes. After all, who can tell Him what he ca and cannot do?

    If God wants to squish us like ants, He could and can if He wishes… but look at the character that God “chose” to fully exhibit who He really is.

    God chose Love and mercy and ALL that God does is in total compliance with His character… Love. It was and is His decision, even though He could be anyway He wishes.

    I don’t know about others, but this is the kind of God I want to follow…

    Satan on the other hand wants nothing more than to have you follow his character … and what is that?

    Take a look at the world and you’ll see Satan’s character manifested in Mankind. It’s selfish, hateful, merciless, murderous, self-seeking… etc. All attributes that are the *opposite* of Gods.

    Like you mentioned… our battle is with ourselves… We also have a choice… either to be like Satan or exhibit the character of God.

    Dennis

    • Take a look at the world and you’ll see Satan’s character manifested in Mankind. It’s selfish, hateful, merciless, murderous, self-seeking… etc. All attributes that are the *opposite* of Gods.

      Agreed…and one of the most unfortunate problems is that we Christians also too often display these characteristics. Satan’s deceptions have led us into believing that we can “enjoy” the things of this world while maintaining a foot in the door of heaven. Yet Christ is plain in this matter …

      Rev 3:15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!
      Rev 3:16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth!

      We must always strive to be like Christ….not just say the words…but be like Him. “How do you do that”, you say?

      Mat 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

      It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit, coming into our lives, filling our hearts that we can become more and more like Christ. We gain this only by seeking Him with our full inner heart. It is not a matter of works to gain heaven, but a matter of loving Christ so fully that you want nothing other than what he wants. How can we know the heart of Christ unless we seek, again I say SEEK for Him. Seek to be taught by Him.

      Thanks again for your insightful comments!

      • Ahhh Yes… to Seek Him… There was a time where I didn’t know if God really existed. I had been told that He did, and I followed out of blind obedience, but deep inside, I really wondered IF God was really there. I “honestly” didn’t know.

        I finally came to a point in my life where I had to know “for sure” if God really existed or if He was nothing more than a fable like Santa or the Easter Bunny. I had finally come to my hour of decision.

        What I did was put God’s promises into action… because if God makes a promise that He will do something IF we do something He’s requested, then either God will keep His promise or it will fail. Can God fail?

        So I did what God asks of us all…

        “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb 11:6)

        Notice the phrase, “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”…

        “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deu 4:29);

        So I sought God with all my heart, mind and soul.

        To make a long story short, God did make Himself real to me in a way that “erased” ANY doubt that He existed…

        Not wanting to redirect to elsewhere on the net, but if others are interested in the Long version of my finding God, I’ve put together my story and it can be found on this link… It’s called the “The Reverent Challenge”

        http://www.roadtobetterliving.com/HTML/HeExists.html

        For me, this was my “Real” starting point in my relationship with Jesus. God is no respector of person and what He does for His other children, He will do for you or me.

        Dennis

      • Our God is so great Dennis. He keeps all of His promises. Thank you so much for sharing your experience…one that we can all have. God WILL reveal himself to those who truly seek Him.

        By the way, you can always reference anything outside of this site if it pertains to something you are discussing. 🙂

  2. What do you think is Satan’s slant on this type of meek thinking?..

    In today’s climate, Satan is trying to make the perpetrator of an action like this think someone who acts in a meek manner as nothing more than a dork or a weak fool.

    I agree that it could bring someone to repentance, but with Satan’s murderous attacks on God’s govenment and his ablilities to bastardize God’s loving principals, it’s easy to see that some will, and do, laugh at this kind of thinking… even though God’s reasoning is the *only way* we can all live in harmony.

    Of course Satan’s attacks in the end will prove futile!

    Imagine how many trial lawyers would be put out of work if the world chose to use God’s principals rather than Satans…

    Coronal Winds Radio

    • Thanks for the comment!

      Of course Satan would be totally opposed to this type of thinking; if for no other reason than it is God’s way of defeating evil. The truth of the matter is that Satan’s way is the weak approach. It is easy to give into your natural sinful nature and seek to glorify self by crushing, defeating, bringing-down, or becoming greater than another man. It is 10x easier to do this when the whole world would agree with you doing it. In the “skit” Joe had every right to expect that Fred should pay dearly for stealing his jacket…Fred DID steal the jacket…he did sin…But Joe chose to forgive and even go further by LOVING. The weak approach is the argument that Satan makes to Jesus when he (Satan) points out our sins to Christ…

      “He says..”LOOK! Look what that so called follower of yours just did! Are you going to let him get away with that?! I told you that he doesn’t love you. He just sinned openly! He should be destroyed…it is what the law demands!”

      Your right that much of the world would only see this as weakness; laugh and show scorn to someone who acted in the way that Joe did. But, isn’t the problem that we are facing today as Christians that we don’t do it God’s way anymore? I truly believe that we must turn to God’s Will and His way…the way of Forgiveness and Love, the way of Mercy…and we who call ourselves Christians…who take His name (hopefully not in vain)…need to come back to His way, practice it in our lives FULLY and completely. Then, and only then, can we be called “God’s peculiar people” and then Jesus will come again.

      Thanks again for your comment. It is so good to hear what other people think! Don’t stop. 🙂

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