Matthew 5:38-39 Forget Revenge

“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.

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Proverbs 25:21-22 How To Treat Your Enemy

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22

It is commonly thought that when an enemy does something wrong, the first thing that should be done is to strike back and make the enemy pay for the wrong that was done. The striking back is seen as a punishment. It can be just words, or a physical strike, or some other correction. Today many will take someone to court and get them put in jail or made to pay a fine or some law suit. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth is the mentality of many people.

The idea of the “punishment” is to make the person hurt a little for what he did. Causing pain in some way, is supposed to detour the person from ever doing it again. In this process of punishing the wrong-doers, prisons have been filled to overflowing with those who have done wrong, wars have been waged between nations or groups of people, and millions of innocent people have been hurt.

God has a different plan on how to deal with the enemy. Since you are not God, you do not have the full right to punish the enemy. You are to be like Jesus. He fed the enemy and gave the enemy water to drink. Do you think that every person who ate in the group of 5,000, fully loved and followed Him for who He was? Most likely not.

Solomon says treating an enemy with food and water will heap burning coals on his head. When shown the true love and mercy of God, the person doing wrong will feel the pressure to change. He will realize the wrong that he has been doing.

As a believer, you are to be set apart from the world. You are to be different from the world. The world wants revenge, you must show love and mercy.

When someone has done something wrong to you, the best thing you can do is meet their needs the best way you can. Since their needs were not being met, maybe that is why they treated you wrong.

When you do these kind things, God will see and reward you. His reward will be greater than any person on this earth could give you.

How are you treating your enemies today?

I pray today that you will be filled with God’s love for all; that God will strengthen you to do right to your enemy; and that God will reward you for your love and mercy on others.