It Is An Impossible Job To Do!
Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was using scripture to prove his point to me the last time we spoke. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is the right way to assure justice,” he told me. “In the good old days, if you were injured you could seek revenge against the person who committed the injury to you, and get your satisfaction,” he said.
I agreed with him that the Old Testament did allow for retaliation, but it did limit the revenge you could demand. You could only injure the other person as they had injured you thus; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot.
The problem with the law was that it also said a life for a life, once you have been killed it is hard to take the life of the person who murdered you. That meant one or some of your family could seek the life of the one who killed you. That lead to feuds, killings between families nonstop. Getting revenge leads quickly to hate and murder. Payback never starts or ends well.
Jesus said when it comes to an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, “Don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also.” Reacting to a slap with a slap is not God’s way. Accepting insult or injury without returning them was Jesus’ way of saying that revenge needs to be excluded from our lives. He knew that when we set out to get even we can easily destroy ourselves not others.
God’s will is that we leave revenge to him; it is his concern, not ours. Getting even, paying back, and making others suffer for the pain they have caused us, is one of the greatest temptations we face as long, as, we live.
Jesus makes it clear that God calls us to do more than what the law requires. His law is meant to draw us to himself. One might not seek revenge for a wrong but still, bear a grudge about an offense. Seeking revenge and holding grudges can poison our souls. God calls us not to do what comes naturally. When slapped, we shouldn’t slap in return and when we get sued we should be willing to give them more than was requested. We are the ones who are to defuse violence and hate. We are to give good for evil, not evil for evil.
God calls us to be like Jesus who showed us the higher and best way to live. In all honesty, God’s laws and ways are too high for us to keep them flawlessly. That is why Jesus came to earth to accomplish our salvation or our forgiveness before God our Father. Jesus did not seek revenge on those that slapped and crucified him. He kept God’s laws perfectly and took away the sin of the world.
The world is full of folks that are determined to get even with others. Christians need to resist taking revenge and holding grudges because we have the example of Christ to follow. We must not do what comes naturally.