- 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
The want of revenge and retribution runs deep. When I am wronged the desire to “get back” at someone is very strong. It can almost feel like an obligation or a right that since you hurt me, I get to hurt you back. But it never ends there, and a vicious cycle of revenge begins.
I see this with my children:
- If K shoves R, then R shoves K.
- If R shoves K, then K shoves R harder.
- If K shoves R harder, then R hits K.
And this escalates until both children are hurt and crying. Nobody wins.
When I read this passage what comes to mind is Romans 12:17-19 where Paul writes “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Two wrongs don’t make a right (thanks Grandma). When a wrong is repaid with a wrong, God is not looking at me as justified in my evil actions, he is looking at me as someone who has wronged another image bearer of God. End of story.
Lord thank you for your guidance and patience with me as I try to figure things out and keep failing. I ask that you help me to live at peace with everyone even when I feel the need avenge myself.