torsdag 6. april 2017

Knowing what magnanimity is - a step on the journey

In Norwegian we have a very nice word describing generosity taken a step further. I have tried to find it in the other Scandinavian languages, but struggle to find an equivalent. To be magnanimous, is as close I get in English. It covers to do generous act which is not expected and which I do not have to do. I choose to do it motivated be a desire to please or help others. Peter learned this lesson on the journey up to Jerusalem. Tax-collectors came from the temple about asked Peter if his ‘Master’ paid tax to the temple. Peter confirmed that Jesus did, and Matthew continues in this way:
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him.
Matt 17:25-26
The conclusion is that both Jesus and the disciples (his children) are exempt from paying. Nevertheless, Jesus wanted to pay the temple tax with the following justification “…so that we may not cause offense.” v 27a (1).

The attitude of magnanimity and generosity to please rather than to offend others, is a virtue that have been held in high esteem among the Christians down through the centuries. And I agree with them who consider it to be part of God's DNA. 

In his letter to the Romans, Paul used two full chapters on this challenge (2).

I'll pick a verse from these writings to describe this magnanimity, and use it as my

‘Manna’ for today:

“Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.” (3)
(1) See yesterday's reflection
(2) Rom 13 About Submission to Governing Authorities and Rom 14 About the weak and the strong
(3) Rom 13:10

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