“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.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6-7
After Adam and Eve had been kicked out of the Garden of Eden they had some children. The first two were Cain and Abel. Abel had offered a sacrifice to God, which God had accepted. Cain tried to do the same but did it the wrong way. Cain was angry with his brother and God approached him about his anger. In the very next verse it states that Cain kills Abel.
Anger is something that is a reality in a person’s life. Some people try to say that anger is a sin and that a person should never be angry. Yet, Jesus, Himself, got angry with people at different times. His anger was controlled.
God had told Cain that he must have control over his anger. When a person is angry he must do something about it to keep it under control. Often people allow themselves to sit and brood over their anger. The more they brood over it the stronger their anger grows.
When a person gets angry enough things are said and done that are a sin. Many of those things cannot be retracted in any way. Cain killed Abel, and there was no way to get him back. It was final.
You must determine if your anger is acceptable to God or not. Most often the anger a person has is against someone who has done something to them. When Jesus got angry it was with people doing something against God.
Turn your anger over to God, do not allow it to control you. Allow him to deal with the other person. Rule over the anger and be like Jesus. Realize that the only thing to be really angry about is things done against God. You have to rights otherwise to be angry.
Think about how much you have done wrong to God and how much He has forgiven you. Be willing to forgive others.
I pray today that God will help you control your anger; that you will turn your anger over to God; that God will fill you with His love and forgiveness; and that you will do what is right every time.
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9
In this world getting even with someone is very common and accepted. Everyone wants to pay back some for what was done to them. It is often looked as the saying in the Old Testament of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”.
There are thousands of lawyers out there who are ready and willing to take someone to court to help get the desired payback. That someone can be an individual, a family or even a large corporation. It is always someone with some money. The idea is to hurt the person for some wrong that they had done. People will hire these lawyers to get back at that person.
Many other people cannot afford the lawyers, or just do not want to get even in the legal way. They will take matters into their own hands and fight back. Some will physically harm the person or business, others will slander them to harm them, while others will just ignore them. All of these ways are the same in getting revenge in a way to hurt them.
Peter states here not to repay evil with evil, but with blessings. Jesus had already stated that every believer is to love their enemies and bless them. This is the very thing that Jesus had done with His enemies when He was on the cross. He blessed them by asking the Father to forgive them. You were also included in that prayer.
If Jesus can pour out blessings on His enemies as He is being crucified, can you not give out some blessings on one who does wrong against you?
God may be using your enemies to help get you to the right spot at the right time. Think about Joseph and his brothers, if they had not done wrong to him, he never would have been a leader in Egypt.
Allow God to use whoever He wants to build you. Pray for those who do wrong against you and pray blessings on them, not curses. See what God can do for you and with them. It might amaze you.
I pray today that God will fill you with His love for your enemies; that God will strengthen you to bless your enemies; that God will use every wrong against you for your good; and that you will be a shining light for Jesus in this world.