Summary: Retaliation is so easy to do and such a natural reaction to insult and injury. But Christ shows us how to be supernatural in our response to hurt to show the real love and power of Christ in our lives. Being changed doesn’t just mean on the outside, but
Principles of Peacemaking
Griffith Baptist Church – 10/28/07
Text: Matthew 5:38-42
Purpose: We should not think of retaliation but of peace for the cause of Christ.
When he was an attorney, Abraham Lincoln was once approached by a man who passionately insisted on bringing a suit for $2.50 against an impoverished debtor. Lincoln tried to discourage him, but the man was bent on revenge. When he saw that the man would not be put off, Lincoln agreed to take the case and asked for a legal fee of $10, which the plaintiff paid. Lincoln then gave half of the money to the defendant, who willingly confessed to the debt and paid the $2.50! But even more amazing than Lincoln’s ingenuous settlement was the fact that the irate plaintiff was satisfied with it. --Brown Book of Anecdotes
Christ began his sermon with ”9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:9-12)
A. The Law provided for retaliation (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21)
1. Lex Talionis = law of retaliation (retribution, legalized vengeance
2. This was under the direction of judges
3. It was tit for tat, eye for eye, tooth for tooth
4. It had deteriorated over time and people were tempted to get more than even
1. We should never take any teaching to extremes
2. When your life or others lives are in danger
3. Government retribution (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)
C. There are times when resistance is necessary:
1. Jesus resisted evil in chasing the moneychangers from the temple (Matt. 21:12; John 2:15)
2. We are to resist the devil (Jms. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9)
3. Paul opposed Peter over compromise (Gal. 2:11)
4. Immorality in the congregation (1st Cor. 5:13)
5. The Matthew 18 principle of confrontation (Matt. 18:15-17)
D. These problems can hit us in several areas:
1. Personal attacks – 39 (1st Pt. 3:13-17)
2. Legal attacks – 40 (1st Cor. 6:7)
3. Inconveniences – 41 (ex. Matt. 27:32)
4. Financial, material – 42 (Jms. 2:15-16; 1st Jn. 3:16-18)
E. Christ is saying, do not repel one outrage by inflicting another
F. Leave revenge for God – Rom. 12:19
G. Being a peacemaker does not guarantee us escape from the meanness of others.
1. It makes us distinct
a. Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
b. 1 Peter 2:9 - 9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
2. It helps us conquer anger and bitterness – Eph. 4:26-32
3. It makes us overcomers (Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good – Rom. 12:21)
4. It pleases God.
The principles of being a peace-maker:
1. A vengeful spirit only adds trouble
A. A lady was sick, so she went to the doctor. He examined her, did a number of tests and told her the bad news. "I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I’m afraid you’ve contracted rabies."
The doctor left the room for a minute, and when he returned the woman was busy writing on a piece of paper. He asked, "What are you doing, writing your will?" She said, "No, I’m making a list of all the people I’m going to bite."
B. It creates tension
C. It increases hatred
D. It can be dangerous and even lethal
2. Going beyond what is expected is a mature and wise reaction
A. This was evidenced in the life of Jesus, always giving while others were taking
B. James 3:17 - 17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
C. This is what Christ is saying as a response to what others do to us
3. Responding rightly to persecution brings glory to God
A. There’s a story about an Irish lady whose husband was always drunk. She went to a pastor and said, "I’ve done all I can to correct my husband’s life. I’ve even chased him around with a frying pan." The pastor said, "Have you thought about heaping coals of fire on his head?" She replied, "I’ve thought of some awful things, but not that!" She missed the point. To heap coals of fire on someone’s head is simply to give your love in return for someone’s hate. The pastor was saying to overcome evil with good.