In our country, we admire the values of honesty, hard work, responsibility, tolerance, and compassion. At the same time we also respect fierce competition, individualism, greed, absolute freedom, and wealth. In the past, we honored worship, voting, freedom to contract one’s labor, and marriage—even though some of these freedoms were denied African Americans, most notably during slavery. Jesus revealed a system of values that show us what God expects from those who claim to follow Him. They show how to relate to God, self, sin, and the world. Here are some found in Matthew chapter 5—in the Sermon on the Mount. In relating to God, Jesus said we should be poor in spirit—humble, submissive, and obedient. In regards to self, we should have untainted hearts—pure motives at our core—in our minds, emotions, volition, and actions. In regards to sin, we should mourn over our sins and the sin around us. In regards to others, we should be peacemakers and have a passion for justice and fairness. In regards to those who persecute us for doing right, we should not resort to violence but expect God to vindicate us in His own way and at His own time. Kingdom values don’t change; they are effective; and they pay off in the long run because they come from God who created us.
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