Good morning, beloved,
The Lord has so much to still work on through me. God isn’t finished with me yet. I think through past conversations and actions over the past few days and I cringe a bit. I want my words and actions to be guided by the Spirit of God and yet, as the Lord woke me this morning and walked me through these conversations, I saw much of me and not much of Him. I don’t just cringe a bit. I cringe copious amounts. So when the Lord shows us our weakness, what do we do? Can we cringe, hide and hope that everyone will forget? This is grace at work in my life. I can rescue relationships through God’s power and strength and restorative healing. Certainly not my own words or guidance but His love pouring out, we are all in business of restoration and building the body of Christ together. When I read today’s passages, I knew and know the Lord had gentle. but firm wisdom in store for me. How about you?
38 You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
39 But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too.
40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also.
41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles].
42 Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you.
You know what strikes me first about this passage? I’ve never studied Matthew 5 in such detail to notice the repetition and how Jesus wanted the Law to not be remade but given new understanding, shed new light. The Law was so well-known to His audience that, like us, it had become the wallpaper of their life. We have really ugly wallpaper in our kitchen. I forget until someone mentions it. It has faded into the background of life.
Yes, eye for an eye..you remember (just like I remember my wallpaper when someone reminds me). Jesus is saying, wait, it is so much more that! Don’t let this just fade into the background.
Let’s search around the OT for some insight:
23 But if any damage follows, then you shall give life for life,
24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 Burn for burn, wound for wound, and lash for lash.
17 And he who kills any man shall surely be put to death.
18 And he who kills a beast shall make it good, beast for beast.
19 And if a man causes a blemish or disfigurement on his neighbor, it shall be done to him as he has done:
20 Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has caused a blemish ordisfigurement on a man, so shall it be done to him.
21 He who kills a beast shall replace it; he who kills a man shall be put to death.
22 You shall have the same law for the sojourner among you as for one of your own nationality, for I am the Lord your God.
15 One witness shall not prevail against a man for any crime or any wrong in connection with any sin he commits; only on the testimony of two or three witnesses shall a charge be established.
16 If a false witness rises up against any man to accuse him of wrongdoing,
17 Then both parties to the controversy shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days.
18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely,
19 Then you shall do to him as he had intended to do to his brother. So you shall put away the evil from among you.
20 And those who remain shall hear and [reverently] fear, and shall henceforth commit no such evil among you.
21 Your eyes shall not pity: it shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
There are so many issues that come to me, how about you?
- The Lord wrote the Law. Who can argue with Holy God?
- There is no shade of grey here. No question about what to do for an offense. No wonders. No trying to figure,
- God is the final judge. He will have the last say.
- When all of society understood these limits… Don’t you think?
So we circle back to the Sermon. There are going to be unintentional wounds, words, actions. People make mistakes, there are accidents. Yet, I believe Jesus is speaking to premeditation on the part of the other party involved with us. Look with me..
- Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]…
- …anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too…
- …anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also…
- … anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles]…
Friends, we are to let go. Give until it hurts and then keep going. The impact on the kingdom if we actually we were changed by these words in our daily life. The courts would be empty. I’ll let Paul say it:
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone.
18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.
20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.
21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.
Well, it’s time to get ready for church and start our morning. Live at peace. Pray on, beloved. Pray on.