New record high temperature. 116 degrees. Hot enough to cook food in my car, although I haven’t taken that opportunity for good stewardship… yet.
How do we cope? I had a mid-west transplant tell me “Think of it like a snow day, only different.” When the temps are too cold in the mid-west winter, or the snow is too deep, people stay indoors. In Arizona it happens in the summer when the temp is too hot. It’s the same, but different.
In Matthew 5 Jesus is teaching on the mountain and explaining God’s hope for the crowds gathered. He says “you have heard it said…” and then adds, “but I say to you…” Taking the way people had been told of God’s direction and making it clear what God really intended. In 5:21-48 he uses this pattern to talk about anger, adultery, oaths, divorce, retaliation and the love of our enemies. And in each case he starts with the simplest understanding of the law and builds on it. So start with murder. Just because you haven’t killed another with your own hands doesn’t mean that your anger or hate hasn’t done deathly damage to others, and you. Refraining from killing is good, but it should be for the point of caring for the other not just refraining from murder. Likewise, just because you haven’t had sex with someone other than your spouse doesn’t mean that lust, and the attention that goes with it, hasn’t damaged your relationship with your own spouse, or theirs as well. God’s hope for us is to experience care, honor, safety and fidelity in our relationships, not just the restraint from sex with others.
So, it’s like a snow-day in the Arizona summer. Start with your simple understanding, but then apply it on a larger scale in all circumstances.