Matthew 6:19-24 – Where Is Your Loyalty Placed?

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (New International Version)

Nobody can pursue two diametrically opposed commitments. 

Trying to live in both worlds of pursuing earthly treasure and heavenly treasure is not possible. 

Jesus has no place for any of his followers to ride the fence between those two worlds.

We cannot practice God’s will, and at the same time have a moonlighting job with the world.

As followers of God, we must have a single-minded loyalty to kingdom values. 

We are to do the will of God, from a right and sincere heart, and follow Christ’s teaching alone. 

We may give of ourselves, and give of our money, with sincerity, but if we walk away from that and believe the rest of my money, time, talents, and resources are mine to use as I want (since I fulfilled my duty) then we have a divided loyalty between the kingdom of God and the domain of darkness.

Jesus, as he typically does in the Gospels, used metaphors to communicate that we must have an unswerving loyalty to God’s kingdom values.

The Treasure Metaphor

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. So, what are earthly treasures? 

Stuff, money, possessions, control, power, position, and recognition from others. 

You may rightly ask in response, “Is any of that really, in and of itself, wrong?” 

No. However, that’s not the real issue. The real question is this:

Do we use our earthly treasure to build heavenly treasure, or do we hoard earthly treasure for our own purposes apart from Christ’s kingdom values?

A man in a crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died.”

Jesus answered, “Who gave me the right to settle arguments between you and your brother?”

Then he said to the crowd, “Don’t be greedy! Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe.”

So, Jesus told them this story:

A rich man’s farm produced a big crop, and he said to himself, “What can I do? I don’t have a place large enough to store everything.”

Later, he said, “Now I know what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I can store all my grain and other goods. Then I’ll say to myself, ‘You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.’ ”

But God said to him, “You fool! Tonight, you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up?”

“This is what happens to people who store up everything for themselves but are poor in the sight of God.” (Luke 12:13-21, CEV)

Earthly possessions are tools to be used. Jesus warns that we must not accumulate personal wealth, esteem, and success for the sake of placing ultimate security in money, but for advancing God’s kingdom values. 

Why do that? 

Because earthly treasure is temporary, and heavenly treasure is permanent. 

Heavenly treasure is righteousness; it’s right and just relationships. Humility, peace, grace, mercy, purity, and forgiveness are all relational values. The only thing that we will take with us when we die is relationships; it’s the only thing that’s permanent.

If I am genuinely committed to God’s kingdom, my most cherished values will be established by God. 

Whatever it is that we value, those values consume our thoughts and our efforts. In other words, what’s truly in our hearts directs our work.

And what we value derives from how we perceive our identity. For many Americans, we are defined primarily not as citizens or workers, but consumers. Jesus is neither advocating that we take vows of poverty, nor that we ought not to enjoy the good things in life. Rather, Jesus wants us to define where our loyalties truly lie.

The Light Metaphor

In the ancient world, the eye represented what you fixed your gaze on, or what your focus was. In our culture, we could replace the word “eye” with the word “goal.” The word “body” represents the entirety of one’s life.  So, we may interpret Christ’s words in this way: 

A goal is the focus of a life. If your goals are good, your whole life will be full of proper focus. But if your goals are bad, your whole life will be full of blindness. If then, the focus within you is only really blindness, how great is that darkness!

If the goals and dreams of life are toward earthly treasure, you will blindly move in that direction and your life will end up in disordered love and misplaced values. At death, you will have nothing to take with you because all the eggs have been put in the temporal basket.

The Slavery Metaphor

Jesus flatly stated that we cannot simultaneously serve God and money. Pick and choose. You must go one way or the other; there is no middle ground. 

The question Jesus is posing is: “Who’s your Master?” 

  • When deciding between two jobs, or two homes, or how to spend your time or your money, what set of values comes into play?… values that define me as a follower of Jesus?… or values that define me as an American consumer? 
  • Will I be a bondservant of Jesus, or a slave to credit card debt? 
  • Will I serve God, or serve the lifestyle that I believe I deserve?

Conclusion

None of us are immune from the temptations of all the world’s shiny things, of ambling into misdirected goals.  If you find that you are slave to the wrong god, then there is good news: There is an infinite storehouse of grace that flows from the very heart of God through Jesus Christ. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. (1 John 1:9, CEB)

Choose this day whom you will serve.

Our Father in heaven,
may your name always be kept holy.
May your kingdom come
and what you want, be done,
    here on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us the food we need for each day.
Forgive us for our sins,
    just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us.
And do not cause us to be tempted,
but save us from the Evil One.

The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13, NCV)

Matthew 5:43-48 – Love Your Enemy

“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. (Common English Bible)

A few rhetorical questions: Have you ever had someone not like you? Offend you? Purposely say or do things that upset you? 

I once had a next door neighbor that was just plain mean. Once, when my dog accidentally strayed into her yard and left a package, she picked it up and placed the package directly in front of my backdoor. 

When stuff happen, it’s easy to respond in kind. Many of us have sly passive aggressive tendencies toward people we don’t like. One of my professors once admitted that he responded to a woman who was bragging to him about how many children she had by saying, “Oh, we don’t place such an emphasis on sex in my house!”

That sort of stuff is rather benign. It’s altogether a different thing whenever someone has deeply hurt us with malicious words or actions. We naturally seek to defend and respond by hurting the other back. 

So then, this is no trite saying of Jesus to proclaim that we are to love the enemy. It cannot be done apart from the God’s grace.

Jesus knows what he is asking of us. And he does not ask of us anything that he himself has not done.

We are often pleased with ourselves if we love our family and friends, because even that is a struggle, at times, for many people. 

Yet, our love needs to expand much further than family. We must treat all people with respect and kindness, even active love, because this is what God does. And if followers of Jesus don’t do this, Christianity is shown, at best, to be just another religion out of many, and at worst, the Church is presented to the world as a fraud.

Those who are poor in spirit, mourn over sin, and display meekness, are those who understand they are no better than anyone else, including their enemies. 

They seek to be right and to do right by:

  • Showing mercy instead of judgment
  • Displaying purity of heart instead of making plans to get back at others
  • Seeking peaceful solutions instead of looking to pick a fight 
  • Accepting insults, persecution, instead of hating (Matthew 5:3-12)

With God’s righteousness as their breastplate, the Christian loves the enemy and prays for those who persecute them.

The Old Testament clearly says to love your neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). Yet, nowhere in the Bible does it say to hate your enemy.

Over the centuries, people began to draw the inference that if we are told to love our neighbor, that therefore, we must hate our enemy, who is not our neighbor. 

From that popular understanding, it was inevitable that Jesus would get asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Christ’s answer to that question was to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The conclusion to that parable is that everyone I come into contact is my neighbor, and so must be shown mercy when they are in need.

It is not for us to judge whether someone is unlovable. It’s not our call to deem another person as unworthy of receiving love. Neither you nor I gets to decide if a person or group of people are too obnoxious or evil for any sort of love.

Nobody can love God by being hateful to another person. Love of God is not measured by zeal against God’s enemies; it is measured by treating all persons with respect and love.

Jesus clearly tells us how we can love our enemies: Pray for them. It is difficult to hate a group of people when we are devoted to praying for them. It’s really hard to call somebody a monster when you are using their name in prayer.

So, if you are struggling with a person or a group of people, pray! If someone is giving you a hard time and doesn’t like you, pray for them. Pray they will see the error of their ways. Pray the Spirit to open their eyes and grant them self-awareness. And, at all times, leave the judgment to God, for that is his business, not ours. (Romans 12:17-19)

Why love “those” people?… Because God loves them.

Loving those who offend us emulates God’s benevolence. Whenever we love our enemies, we are not expecting anything in return.

Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God. (Ephesians 5:1-2, GNT)

Love gives life meaning. And love always suffers. There isn’t any love apart from suffering. That’s because it requires a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears to love. Jesus is asking us to suffer for the enemy, just as we suffer for our children and our friends.

If Christians have no love for their enemies, then they are no different than the haters of this world. Followers of Jesus are distinctive because of the way we treat people. We are to model our lives after God’s love, not by the standard of niceness to those who are nice to us. 

God doesn’t expect us to live only through reciprocity, that is, simply giving back to those who already have given something to us. Christians are to give even when persecuted. That’s because God shows no distinction in how he distributes the sun and the rain. 

Showing basic respect and goodness to all people, no matter who they are, is God’s rain showers and sunshine toward others.

I have observed that every church believes they are friendly (even the cold ones) because the members are friendly with their friends. They greet everyone who greets them. This is neither spectacular nor noteworthy. 

Genuine love keeps an eye open for the quiet, the awkward, and the friendless, and seeks them out.

“To return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is human; to return good for evil is divine. To love as God loves is moral perfection.”

Alfred Plummer

Most English translations has Jesus saying to be “perfect,” because the heavenly Father is perfect. That is an unfortunate translation because a lot of people think “perfectionism.” But that’s not what Jesus was talking about. Christ was referring to being spiritually mature, morally sound, and personally whole and integrated.

“Maturity is looking at every person we meet and saying to yourself, ‘I will never, God helping me, do anything to harm you: not by angrily lashing out at you, lusting over you, faithlessly slipping away from you, verbally hitting back at you, or even justifiably disliking you.’”

Frederick Dale Bruner

So, how do you treat people, all people, even those you don’t like and have hurt you in some way? 

The ability to love the enemy comes from God. Grace is not something we can just conjure up, as if we might will ourselves to love our enemies. It is not natural – it is supernatural, and so must come from a supernatural Being. 

Human relationships easily become subject to verbal violence, bitterness, and destruction, whenever we treat our own life and the lives of other people as properties to be defended, instead of precious gifts to be received. 

We have died to hate. So, how can we live in it any longer? Selfishness, pride, and seeking to control others has been crucified with Christ. 

If we have nothing to defend, then we have no enemies who can harm us.

Jesus, Prince of Peace, you have asked us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. With the help of the Holy Spirit, enable us to do just that. Give us the courage, strength, and grace to love those who harm us so that we may shine as beacons of Christian light in a world of revenge, retaliation, and darkness.

May all people learn to work together for the justice which brings true and lasting peace.

Let us pray for our enemies and persecutors:

We pray for those who have hurt us.
Bless them always and in every way, Lord.

We pray for those who hate us.
Bless them always and in every way, Lord.

We pray for those who insult us.
Bless them always and in every way, Lord.

We pray for those who have stolen from us.
Bless them always and in every way, Lord.

We pray for those who will not hear us.
Bless them always and in every way, Lord. Amen.

Matthew 6:25-33 – Do Not Worry

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (New International Version)

Jesus cares both about what we do, and why we do it. That’s because he cares about our whole selves – our physical needs and our emotional/spiritual needs. In our anxiety about the future, Jesus guides us toward a non-anxious presence for our daily lives.

We all know what worry is. It’s that unsettling feeling in the pit of your gut about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Whenever we worry, we display an inability to see beyond our own little world. Worry bogs us down and saps our faith. Our worry is significant enough to warrant Jesus repeating the command to not worry six times. And he gives six reasons why:

Life is more than food and clothes.

When we are beset with worry, we need a big picture view of what’s going on. Being overly concerned about how the necessities of life are going to be met, we need a reminder that God cares for life itself, including us. If God cares about life, which is so valuable, he will sustain us with what we need to live that life.

God cares for the birds in creation. 

People are the apex of God’s creation. And, since God cares for every other creature on this earth, and sustains their lives, God will certainly care for us, as well.

Worry begins to melt and be replaced by faith, not when we try and work up feelings of trust, but when we take the time to observe creation – watching the birds and seeing how God takes care of them. Birds don’t worry; they just enjoy God’s providence. Birds work hard, but they aren’t farmers who plant and harvest. Yet, God sustains them. So, if God will provide for small creatures that don’t plan to avoid starvation, how much more will God sustain you!?

Worry accomplishes nothing. 

Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere. Worry is simply unhelpful.

Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.

Charles M. Schulz

God cares for the flowers and grass in creation. 

God clothes the flowers better than we ever could dress ourselves (which is what my daughters have told me for years). Jesus specifically identifies flowers and grass because they illustrate a short and precarious lifespan. Christ’s logic is from the lesser to the greater: If God cares for something as fragile and temporary as flowers and grass, how much more will God care for you?

Jesus links worry with a small faith. We have expectations in life about how things ought to go. If those expectations are grounded in God’s promises, then whenever adverse circumstances come, we will likely respond with peace and trust. However, if we are anticipating the future to turn out a particular way, then the worry sets in. 

While we worry, we begin taking matters into our own hands. If the situation goes against our expectations, then we start to question if God is good or not, or if the Lord really has our best interests at mind. We must not tether ourselves to a specific outcome, rather, we need to rely on God’s care for us, no matter what the outcome will be.

Your heavenly Father knows your needs. 

Unlike the ancient pagan deities who were aloof, fickle, and did not pay much attention to people, God is always watching us, always attentive, always knowing our every need. Pagan worshipers keep worrying about whether the gods will really care, or not.

However, with God there is no need for worry because we know the Lord has our backs and is trustworthy. Just as my girls used to jump from the stairway in a leap of faith because they knew for sure Dad was going to catch them, so also your heavenly Father is a reliable God.

The necessities of life will be given to you. 

God’s business is to provide for our necessities; our business is to seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. 

The verb form of “seek” is a continuous action of seeking. We are to daily seek God’s kingdom and submit to Christ’s lordship. We are to continually pray for God’s kingdom to come and bring all the world under the gracious authority of Christ.

We need to keep seeking social, political, cultural, institutional, and ecclesiastical reform because God cares about it all coming under Christ’s lordship. Continually seeking God’s kingdom means we dethrone wealth and possessions as our first pursuits, and instead seek heavenly treasure as defined by Jesus.

We are to continually seek God’s righteousness by seeking peace where there is discord; forgiveness when others sin against us; mercy instead of judgment; right relations with people in our family, at work, in the neighborhood, and in the church. 

The will of God is clearly stated: Seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.

Conclusion

If we are busy with kingdom business, there is then no room for worry. Anxious fretting sets in whenever we are diverted from seeking the kingdom. There’s no need for worry about tomorrow because I am busy today doing God’s will.

So, how then do we overcome worry?

  1. Confess and renounce worry. Call worry for what it is: a lack of faith.
  2. Observe creation. Take regular walks in nature. See all the flora and fauna around you. Perceive how God cares for all of it – and you.
  3. Get to know the God of the Bible. Spending time with God increases our faith and reliance upon the Lord. Knowing that he is trustworthy, increases our faith. Engaging in the spiritual practices of prayer, giving, and fasting build our trust in God.
  4. Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. Busy yourself with kingdom pursuits, instead of worry.

May God’s blessing rest on you, as you value what Jesus values, and as you seek the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Matthew 5:27-36 – Lusting, Liquidating, and Lying

Sermon on the Mount by Argentine artist Jorge Cocco Santángelo

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. ’But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. (New International Version)

Adultery. Divorce. Oaths. Jesus chose these topics from the Ten Commandments (7, 9, and 10) to uphold the ethical law of God.

In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gets to the heart of immorality and unethical behavior. The physical act of adultery arises from mental adultery. Divorce results from hardness of heart. Breaking oaths as a form of lying.

Adultery

Pornography is a 60 billion dollar a year industry, worldwide. It is the church’s problem, as well:

  • 53% of Christian men consume pornography.
  • 51% of pastors say porn is a temptation.
  • 69% of pastors started looking at porn out of curiosity.
  • 37% of pastors say it’s currently a struggle.
  • 35% of men have used pornography in the past month.
  • 4 in 10 of pastors looked at porn today.
  • There are 100,000 websites that offer illegal child pornography.
  • 90% of 8-16 year old’s have viewed porn online (most while doing homework).
  • 20% of men, and 13% of women, admit to viewing pornography at work.
  • 70 percent of all internet porn traffic occurs during the 9-to-5 workday.

Adultery initially occurs when someone feeds on mental sexual activity with another person. As with most of Christ’s solutions, he lays out a radical means of overcoming it.

Jesus is not condemning normal gender attraction, nor sex itself (which is a gift of God). Rather, Jesus condemns the leering upon another with sexual fantasy. All adulterous relationships and inappropriate sexual relations start with the “look.”

“Lust” is to intensely desire and burn for something, to seek mastery over another. The reason people stare, and lust, is not because of the other person’s manner or dress; it’s because they already have an adulterous heart. 

Whenever we are caught in physical or mental adultery, decisive and drastic action is needed. Jesus used hyperbole to drive his point home about the need of dealing with adultery. The approach is not applying a band aid; it is amputation.

The reason many men and women are snared by adultery, and seem unable to stop, is that they deal with it on their own. The radical action needed is accountability; confession must be offered.

Trying to manage lust on our own is like one individual attempting to contain a nuclear meltdown.

Jesus leaves no room to think it is okay to lust in the heart because I am not hurting anybody. Pornography enslaves its users and degrades women.

As powerful and addictive lust is, God’s grace is bigger and more powerful. There’s no need to be burdened with shame and guilt when the cross of Christ has already taken care of it.

There would not be a multi-billion dollar industry if there were not places in our hearts that are black. Now is the time for forgiveness, grace, and healing.

Sermon on the Mount by American artist Bill Bell

Divorce

Today in America more than one-third of all adults have experienced divorce.

Unfortunately, many divorced persons feel their faith community provided rejection rather than support and healing. There is a lot of room for improvement when to help families, and those having experienced divorce.

Please know Jesus condemns the cavalier divorce, and not all divorce. Anybody who doesn’t like their spouse doesn’t have ground for divorce. They entertain the thought of having a better spouse, even though there is no marital unfaithfulness. 

This is yet another form of mental adultery (and idolatry) which believes someone else can better meet my needs. 

Jesus clearly makes provision for divorce to occur in certain circumstances. Yet, he will not bend to liquidating a marriage over unhappiness with what God has joined together.

The intent of Old Testament legislation on divorce is to avoid a casual stance toward marriage (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Over the centuries, people found creative ways of getting around the law. Although a divorce may be legal, it might not be ethical. Jesus wanted divorce practiced with concern for the woman, so that her rights and needs were considered.

Many took a loose view of divorce and focused solely on “indecency” as grounds for divorce. They did not interpret the term solely as sexual infidelity, as Jesus did, but had a broad understanding of indecency.

For example, if a husband did not like his wife, or, in the words of one rabbi, she continually burns the supper, he may “put her away” (divorce her). Jesus, however, insisted divorce must not happen because of a hard time getting along; or don’t love your spouse anymore; or that your spouse keeps irritating you. 

Being frustrated or unhappy are not biblical grounds for divorce. The answer to most marital problems does not lie in a new spouse, but in the hard work of identifying the idols of our hearts, overthrowing them, and re-connecting. Sin is crouching at the door, but you and I must master it.

Jesus said the ground for divorce is marital unfaithfulness, that is, any sexual activity outside the bounds of the marriage relationship. And, even in this case, divorce need not be an option, if the two people can reconcile.

Christ sought to defend women who are genuine victims. In biblical times, if a wife was given a certificate of divorce, she had four options: 1) Return to her family of origin; 2) Become a beggar; or 3) Become a prostitute to make ends meet; or, 4) Marry again, thus committing adultery if she was divorced because her husband didn’t like her. 

Jesus doesn’t take sides between spouses. Instead, he lifts the original intent of marriage: oneness. Divorce was never meant to be. Separating two people is damaging. However, it obviously occurs. (Matthew 19:1-12)

Divorce exists because of the heart’s hardness in one or both of the marriage partners. Divorce, really, is a legal testimony verifying that a separation has already occurred. It’s a recognition that disunity and non-oneness is already present. Legal divorce affirms that a terrible break already happened, damaging the people involved.

Just as God is one, two marital partners are to be one. Oneness is the primary goal of any marriage relationship. God did not institute marriage for people to live as roommates, but to be a new entity operating as one.

If God found it necessary to divorce his own covenant people, then it is inevitable divorce will occur among people (Jeremiah 3:1-8).  Therefore, let’s be discerning in how we handle each individual situation of marital difficulty.

Sermon on the Mount by Janice Elizabeth Steward

Oaths

“I swear on a stack of Bibles I won’t…” “I will, if I get around to it….” These are a few of the caveats we give when making a promise or oath. Oaths communicate our level or ability of getting it done, or not.

That’s fine. What isn’t fine is making excuses or false promises with no intention of doing what you say you will do. So, Jesus wants all the extraneous language out. Say “yes” or “no” and then follow through. And if you don’t, you’re a liar.

We often lie because we don’t want to do something to begin with. “Yes” and “no” are clear boundary words. Boundaries are needed so there is no oath-breaking.

Boundaries define where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to take and not take responsibility for gives me freedom.

  • Boundaries keep the good in and the bad out. Setting boundaries involves taking responsibility for your choice of “yes” and “no” and living with the consequences.
  • Boundaries protect us from “gaslighting.” Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. The abuser manipulates another into doubting their thoughts, feelings, judgments, perceptions, and/or memories.
  • Boundaries hold people accountable for their words and actions. Without boundaries, we can easily feel used and mistreated.

Jesus wants us to clarify our values and live them out; make wise decisions; identify what we will accept and reject; and follow through on what we say we will do.

Conclusion

Adultery, divorce, and oaths are related. Boundaries – making and keeping promises – deals with outside forces trying to compromise our values. Accountability in naming our struggles mitigates covetousness.

Dissolved marriages and broken promises still happen. Yet, Jesus is there offering grace, not judgment. We may become emotionally damaged, however, there is healing available through the mercy of Christ. Amen.