Iain Gibb, Olivet Evangelical Church, Falkirk

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‘Live out your God-created identity’ – Matthew 5:48 (The Message)

When I last worked for a commercial organisation, we were urged to ‘exceed customer expectations’.

We did try hard, but it was difficult.

We are all human, we make mistakes, and, since we were working with computers, little software bugs over which we had no control could cause things to go wrong.

And sometimes customers’ expectations were simply unrealistic.

Jesus also encourages us to ‘exceed expectations’.

People had understood, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth”, but Jesus said, “Don’t hit back at all. Don’t just love your friends, love your enemies and pray for them.”

When his disciple, Peter, asked him “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”

He didn’t expect Jesus’ answer, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven”.

When Jesus told the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’, he spoke of someone who broke through racial prejudice and personal danger, to help someone he had never met before.

But why should I live this way? For reward? To feel good about myself?

No, but rather only then am I true to the person God created me to be, and treating others the way God has treated me.