by Perry Hall
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), in modern lingo, teaches these two counter-culture concepts:
- Suffering doesn't make you a victim when you find your blessing from God and not circumstances.
- Victimizing others doesn't make you powerful when your victims refuse to get their dignity through your oppressive eyes.
Check out the Sermon on the Mount and what it says concerning suffering.
- It's part of the Beatitudes.
- It's part of the practical section, "You have heard, but I say to you" (Matthew 5). This is where we go the extra mile and turn the other cheek.
- It's part of the "religious" section (Matthew 6) where people made themselves victims of their own sins and so fasted to get a righteous acclamation from those who they then victimized with their own self-righteousness.
I don't think the theme of the Sermon on the Mount is "Don't be a victim" because it is be like God in true righteousness (Matthew 5:42) and not like the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). However, as an application God is never a victim, always a victor, and never victimizes the less powerful who is everyone else. But do you think some today find "righteousness" in living as a victim?
Jesus lived this:
- He walked the "extra mile" carrying his cross. But Jesus was not a victim.
- He turned the other cheek when slapped. But Jesus was not a victim.
- He didn't rely on acclamations from his peers because he said to God, "Not my will but yours be done". This didn't make Jesus a victim.
- He suffered for righteousness' sake because he got his blessing from God. And Jesus was not a victim.
Jesus lived the Sermon on the Mount, suffered and died, and rose again because his life was founded on solid ground. Jesus was and is counter-culture, and always a victor!