The heart of it

         You have heard, “You shall not murder,”
                  but I say if you yell at somebody,
                  you will be liable to judgment.
         You have heard, “You shall not commit adultery,”
                  but I say if you look at someone lustfully
                  you have just committed adultery.

                           —from Matthew 5.21-28

Jesus is not skipping the law,
nor reinterpreting it.
He’s getting at the heart of it:
not a rule you can get around,
but an invitation to love. He’s drawing us deeper into it,
into actually caring about the other person,
not just making sure we’re legal.

Jesus help me. Guide me.
When I’m embroiled or offended,
help me love that person,
not just contain my anger,
but deeply respect and cherish them,
even as I oppose them.
When my own desires flare up,
help me to see each person
as a precious individual,
not an object for either lust or scorn,
not an object at all, but a soul,
a pilgrim on this journey with me,
blessed, imperfect, and worthy.
Help me speak and act
for their sake, for their sake, in love for them,
as you love me.
Jesus, take me deeper.


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