How often have you heard people say, "an eye for an eye" when they plan to get back at someone who just hurt them. Well, here's yet another example of Jesus saying, "But I say . . ." We are not to necessarily treat someone the same way they treat us. We are to respond with kindness and respect no matter what. In fact, Jesus asks us to respond in a way they won't expect. "If someone you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk two instead. If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away." (Matthew 5: 29-42 VOICE ) Does this mean we let people walk all over us? No. It means we treat all with kindness and respect. It means when someone hurts us or treats us with disrespect, we don't react in kind. We aren't mean and disrespectful to others. We treat them with love. We don't react the way they expect and that will hopefully make them question what is different about us.
An interesting tidbit I learned while studying this. The concept of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" was not created so we could have revenge on those who hurt is. It was established to hopefully prevent revenge that was over the top. It was an attempt to help make the punishment fit the crime. It was never meant to be used for personal vendetta. It was a rule of punishment for the courts to follow. When did we think we could make it our own personal rule of judgment? When did we think we have the right to judge anyway?
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