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AN EYE FOR AN EYE

UNDALI Episode 161



“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.

MATTHEW 5, 38-42 (NIV)


The words of Jesus are shocking because they challenge a deeply ingrained principle of justice, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This principle, known as "Lex talionis," aimed to introduce a punishment proportional to the harm done. It was fair, as it established a balance between the victim and the perpetrator, between the weaker and the stronger. Jesus, as is his custom, takes something we know and accept, then turns it upside down. He tells us not only to forego retaliation but to turn the other cheek. Does our Messiah truly want us to allow others to harm us without resistance? Imagine a situation where someone strikes us, and we calmly offer the other cheek. What does the aggressor think then? Perhaps they feel shame, or maybe they realize that violence does not bring satisfaction. Or perhaps... they continue to harm?


 

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