Didache - Chapter 3

3 My Child, Flee Evil

3:1 My child, flee evil of all kinds, and everything like it.

3:2 Don’t be prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Don’t be jealous or quarrelsome or hot-tempered, for all these things lead to murder.

3:3 My child, don’t be lustful, for lust leads to illicit sex. Don’t be a filthy talker or allow your eyes a free reign, for these lead to adultery.

3:4 My child, don’t observe omens, since it leads to idolatry. Don’t be an enchanter, or an astrologer, or a purifier, or be willing to see or hear about these things, for these all lead to idolatry.

3:5 My child, don’t be a liar, since a lie leads to theft. Don’t love money or seek glory, for these things lead to thievery.

3:6 My child, don’t grumble, since it leads to blasphemy, and don’t be self-willed or evil-minded, for all these things lead to blasphemy.

3:7 On the contrary, be gentle, since the gentle will inherit the earth.

3:8 Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good, and with trembling, treasure the words you have received.

3:9 Don’t exalt yourself or open your heart to overconfidence. Don’t be on intimate terms with mighty people, but with just and lowly ones.

3:10 Accept whatever happens to you as a blessing, knowing that nothing comes to pass apart from God.


Jack said…
This is a hard chapter. While there is a lot of it that is really good and practical for every day living, the part that is really hard for me is the last verse 'Accept whatever happens to you as a blessing, knowing that nothing comes to pass apart from God'. While I notice that the community didn't say that God was the author of 'whatever happens to you' but that doesn't take away from the blunt force of this verse.

What does it mean that 'nothing comes to pass apart from God'? Or, further still, 'accept whatever happens to you as a blessing'? Really? I have had a lot of horrible things happen to me and I'm supposed to 'accept [it] as a blessing'? How do we reconcile this? How do we accept that those horrible things 'came . . . God?'

I don't know. What I do know is that God is with me during those horrible times. I do know that when I hurt, others hurt, including God. Just as a parent hurts when her child is in pain - either physically or emotionally - so God hurts when we are in pain. Sometimes, and I can accept this part, we get what we deserve because there are consequences to our actions. But I don't think this is what the Didache community was talking about. I think it may have more to do with the persecution that came upon them. There are other New Testament passages that talk about enduring persecution and counting it as a good thing that one was counted worthy to suffer for Jesus.

Honestly, that's the only way I can make sense of that verse. Unless...

What if the verse is calling us, what if the way of Jesus is calling us to transcend my original questions? Does it really matter one way or the other? Sure, in the moment it sucks. But do we continue to live in the past or do we look forward to resurrection? That is what Paul stated in Philippians 3, 'Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us'. And Paul went through some gunk, as we know. Maybe that's it. But, I'll be honest and say I don't know. That is the only response I have right now. Maybe it'll change tomorrow.

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