Summary: When people wrong us, insult us or take our property, we want to see them pay for what they did to us. The question we all need to ask ourselves today is, “Are we willing to go the extra mile for Jesus?”
One winter day a man went shopping at the local neighborhood mall. When he returned to his car he noticed a rather foul odor coming from under the hood and so he checked the engine. In the compartment he discovered a dead cat rather mutilated from being caught in the fan belt. The poor cat had sought shelter from the snow and cold and didn’t realize the dangers of resting on the engine.
Mr. Jones was lucky though, one of his shopping bags was made of plastic and so he emptied its contents and proceeded to scrape, pull and push the cat corpse into the bag. He slammed the hood and walked off to wash his hands, but looking back he noticed something unusual. He had left the bag on the hood of the car. He was about to return and pick it up but just then a lady walks by, looks suspiciously in both directions, she grabs the bag, and with her cart she then speeds off for the mall.
"Well this is too good to be true!" the man thought as he laughed at the lady. He decided to follow her and see what would happen next. She went to a restaurant and looked in the bag. She screamed and then over she fell. Of course, the management was equally alarmed that a customer had fainted in their establishment and so they called the paramedics.
The woman in no time at all was strapped to a cart and ready to be hauled off to the hospital. But the man couldn’t resist. "Hey lady!" he shouted, "don’t forget your package!" And with that he gently laid the cat corpse filled bag on the lady’s chest, just as the ambulance doors were closing!
This story is funny because it reflects the, “She got what she deserved” lesson. We all probably have some personal stories about a time in which we “got even” with someone who did something against us.
We have all heard it said, “I don’t get mad, I get even. OR I don’t get mad or even, I get ahead.” Oh, the stories we could tell about some of the mean things that have been done by all of us in the name of getting ahead. The desire to get “even” or to seek revenge against people is one of the toughest things for most of us.
When people wrong us, insult us or take our property, we want to see them pay for what they did to us. The question we all need to ask ourselves today is, “Are we willing to go the extra mile for Jesus?” Just how far will we allow our faith to penetrate our lives? Jesus said that if we want to see the kingdom of heaven that our righteousness needs to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. Today we are going to see what Jesus says about the subject of retaliation. How should one who has their citizenship in heaven respond when things happen to them? Should we respond like the world would, or does Jesus expect something more from us? Let’s see what He teaches us. READ v. 38.
In the Old Testament, it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Jesus is quoting from Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21. This was not revenge, but it was justice. The eye for an eye was designed to set guidelines for the judges when trying to decide what was an appropriate payment of justice for a wrong suffered. Intent was also taken under consideration.
It appears that AN EYE FOR AN EYE was not always practiced literally in
ancient Israel, and by the time of Jesus, physical penalties were largely replaced
by monetary fines, much as they are today. The eye for an eye was not a command; it was a guideline to make sure that judgments were fair. An eye for an eye was the worst punishment that could be given.
Have you ever thought of how it would curb violence and crime in our society today if we literally practiced AN EYE FOR AN EYE? If you kill someone, your sentence is to be killed in the same manner that you killed that person. If you stabbed them to death, you are stabbed to death. If you smothered them, you are smothered. Drown them, you are drowned. And so on. The only problem is that this type of punishment might border on getting revenge.
Revenge happens when we feel that justice wasn’t served, so God in His wisdom said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth would ensure that people would not seek revenge. The problem started when people started using the eye for an eye standard to take out their own justice. The eye for an eye was not meant to be carried out except by the court. Here’s an example of revenge vs. justice.