“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Matthew 5:38-39
Jesus was giving some short teaching on various topics. One of them was looking at a tradition of men to get eye for eye and tooth for tooth. This is revenge. He tells them to not resist the person, but offer the other cheek as well.
Getting revenge is something many people like to do, although many people do not think it is an acceptable thing to get revenge. The term of revenge is often thought of as too harsh to say, even though it is really what people are doing. They want the person to pay for the crime or wrong that was done, not necessarily get revenge. Yet, revenge is what is actually happening.
The method of getting revenge is very wide range. Some strike back in the exact same way, as in eye for eye. Others will bad-mouth the person. Or find some other way to get at the person without directly touching them. Divorce, firing, and shunning are all ways of getting back at a person.
The way of Jesus runs against the traditions of man. He works on the principle of love. When Jesus was persecuted and put on the cross, He had every reason and right in the world to strike back and kill every person on the earth.
Yet, He did not strike at all. In fact, He prayed that God would forgive them because they didn’t really know what they were doing. It was the ultimate act of love, not revenge.
People will harm you, both on purpose and on accident. The way you react will show your commitment to Jesus. Jesus came to show love and told you to do the same.
When a person harms you, it the perfect time to show God’s love to them. Don’t strike back. Do not get angry with them.
As it occurs, give it to God. Seek His strength and love to love that person and not get revenge. He understands what is happening, Jesus has been there.
When you show love to a person who harms you, it may be that love that wins that person to Jesus.
Who do you need to love to today?
I pray today that God will help you love those who harm you; that God will give you peace in the process of being persecuted; that God’s love will fill your life; and that many will come to know Jesus because of you.