Truth and Freedom

Many people believed that Jesus was the Messiah while he was saying these things. Jesus said to them “If you follow my message, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and it will free you.”

Some people in the crowd said “We are descended from Abraham. We’ve never been anybody’s slave. How can you say we will be freed?”

Jesus replied “This is the truth: everyone who sins is a slave to it. A slave doesn’t always stay in his master’s house, but a son does. Therefore if the Son releases you, you are free to go. I know that you are descended from Abraham, yet you want to kill me because you don’t welcome my message. I speak about what my Father has shown me. You do what your father has told you.”

“Abraham is our father!” they exclaimed.

Jesus said “If Abraham really was your father, you’d do what he did. But you are trying to kill me – someone who has spoken the truth of God that he heard. Abraham didn’t act like this! You are acting just like your father.”

“We aren’t illegitimate,” they replied. “Our father is the One God.”

“If God really were your father,” Jesus replied, “you would love me because I have come from God. God sent me – I’m not here on my own. Why can’t you understand what I’m saying? Because you can’t hear my message. Your father is the Devil, and you want to do what he wants. From the very beginning he was a murderer and he hates the truth because he is full of lies. It is his very nature to lie, because he lies all the time and creates liars. Yet you don’t believe me because I tell the truth. Which one of you can accuse me of any sin? Why don’t you believe me when I tell you the truth? Anyone who is from God hears God’s word. You don’t hear what I have to say because you are not God’s children.”

JN 8:30-47

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Tell the truth, go the second mile, and love your enemies.

Tell the truth.

“The Law of Moses also says that you shall not break your vows – you must honor your vows to God. But I’m telling you something deeper – don’t make any vows! Don’t swear by heaven because it is God’s throne, and don’t swear by the earth because it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem because it is the city of David, our great king. Don’t even swear by your head, because you can’t change even a single one of your hairs white or black. Simply let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’. To say anything more than this is wrong.”

MT 5:33-37

Go the 2nd mile.

“The Law of Moses says ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I’m telling you something deeper – don’t retaliate against someone who does wrong. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn and offer him the other one. If someone sues you to take your shirt away, give them your coat as well. If someone demands that you carry a heavy load for a mile, carry it 2 miles instead. Give to anyone who asks and don’t refuse anyone who wants to borrow something from you.”

MT 5:38-42

Love your enemies.

“You’ve been taught the message ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I’m telling you something deeper – love your enemies and pray for people who persecute you. By doing this you will reveal yourself to be children of your Father in heaven. God makes the sun shine on those who are evil as well as those who are good, and God makes rain fall on the just and the unjust alike. How does it help you if you are nice only the people who are nice to you? Even sinful people can do that. If you welcome only your friends, how are you doing anything different than everyone else? Even people who don’t believe in God do that. Your goal is to be perfect, just like God is perfect.”

MT 5:43-48

Poem about beads

I could lie
and tell you
an amazing story
about these beads,
the far reaches of the world
I travel to get them,
the famous people
who previously owned them,
the magical powers
they have.

Instead,
I’d rather spend
my energy
making the necklaces
than making up
stories
about them.

If you want stories,
read my books.
If you want beauty,
buy my jewelry.
I won’t lie to you
ever
but especially
to sell you something.
Beware of people who do.

Restoring a brother

“If your brother sins against you, you should confront him about it in private. If he listens to you, you have won him back. But if he won’t listen to you, then take one or two other people with you to speak with him again, so that these witnesses may be able to establish the truth. If he still won’t listen, then tell the congregation. If he won’t listen even then, treat him as you would treat an unbeliever or a tax collector.”

“I’ll share this truth with you – whatever you unite on earth is united in heaven, and whatever you let go on earth is let go in heaven. Here’s another truth – if two of you agree about anything that you pray for then my Father in heaven will do it for you. Wherever two or three people gather together in my name, I am there with them.”

MT 18:15-20