Summary: Christ-followers seek to model His character when others choose to harm or humiliate us.

(adapted from Southeast Christian Church’s series: Living a Life of Integrity"0




INTRODUCTION: A. A truck driver is sitting in a crowded roadside diner ready to eat his lunch. It’s not

just any diner and any lunch. It’s his favorite diner on the road and his favorite lunch.

Just as the waitress brings the truck driver’s meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy,

and green beans to his table, a motorcycle gang swaggers in the door.

Most of them seat themselves at the table next to the truck driver but there’s not

room at that table for all of them. The gang members left standing turn to the truck

driver and bark, “Move! We want that table!”

The truck driver calmly says, “I haven’t finished my meal.” One of the motorcycle

toughs takes his dirty finger, swipes it through the mashed potatoes and gravy, sticks

his finger in his mouth and says, “Hey, not bad grub.” Another gang member takes

the trucker’s cup of coffee and slowly pours it over the remaining food on the plate

and snarls, “You’re finished now!”

The trucker stands, takes his napkin, wipes his mouth, walks to the cash register,

pays for his meal, and silently walks out the door. All the bikers are laughing now.

One of them says, “Ain’t much of a man, is he?” The waitress says, “And he’s not

much of a truck driver, either. He just backed his rig over your motorcycles.”

1. How do you react to people who make life difficult for you?

2. We all encounter people who are hard to live with.

--How do you treat the “jerks” in your life?

B. We have some direct instruction on this particular issue

1. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raised the bar for those who followed Him.

a. Don’t resist an evil person.

b. Don’t try to get even.

c. Turn the other cheek.

2. Jesus taught His followers that they should respond differently than the world and

counter to their own carnal instincts.

--You have to admit the teachings of Jesus in this section are impossible to keep

unless we are energized by the power of the Holy Spirit within.

3. Chuck Swindoll, Simple Faith: “In my opinion, Jesus’ words recorded in Matt.

5:38-48, are among the most unusual He ever uttered. The strange-sounding advice

not only cuts cross-grain against our human nature, it also represents the antithesis

of the advice most Americans are given. Nevertheless, His words are wise and His

way is right. If we will only give them a chance, we will discover how true and –

yes, once again – how simple His advice really is.”

C. Before we look phrase by phrase at this passage, there are two basic principles about

interpreting and applying the Bible that are important in understanding this section. 1.

1. First, Jesus sometimes used a method of teaching that was popular in that day called

hyperbolic teaching.

a. The Jewish Rabbis would sometimes use hyperbole to deliberately overstate their

case or emphasize just one side of a truth to motivate students to look at it with a

fresh perspective.

--classic modern hyperbole: “I’ve told you a thousand times; don’t exaggerate!”

b. For example Jesus said, “Unless you hate your mother and Father you can’t be

my disciple” (Luke 14:26 paraphrase).

1). His listeners understood that He didn’t mean to literally hate your parents –

that would contradict everything else he said about families.

2). He was obviously overstating the case to illustrate that there was to be a much

greater allegiance to God than to mother and father.

c. So there are times that Jesus’ teaching is to be taken seriously but not literally, or

you’ll wind up being legalistic and impractical.

2. The second principle in understanding this section of the Sermon on the Mount is

that Jesus words have to be interpreted in light of other Scripture.

--God’s Word does not contradict itself. Rather, it is the best interpreter of itself.

3. With those principles in mind, let’s look at this section that talks about how we treat

people who are difficult to live with.


--Mt. 5:38-39 – “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 someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

A. “An eye for an eye” was the Old Testament system of justice.

--It was the principle of exact retribution – mentioned in Deuteronomy 19:21.

1. It was meant to prevent crime, establish justice, and avoid overreaction.

a. prevent crime – by providing the knowledge of punishment before the crime occurs

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