New Testament Journey, Day 17 is a “two fer” – Matthew 5:38-48. Jesus teaches about revenge – and about Loving your Enemies.
Verses 38-40 – Jesus Teaches about Revenge:
In vs. 38 we read “you have heard the law say an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.. God’s purpose behind this law was an expression of mercy. This law was given to the judges and in effect it was saying – Make the punishment fit the crime. It was designed to limit vengeance imposed by the courts of that day – and help them be not too lenient and not too strict. But some people were using this phrase to justify their vendettas against others.
People still try to use this to justify acts of revenge. When we are wronged, our flesh screams to “Get even!” Instead, Jesus said we should do good to those who wrong us. (Oh that’s a hard pill for our flesh to swallow sometimes isn’t it?!?) Our desire should be to love and forgive. But this is definitely not natural – this is supernatural. Only God can give us the strength to love as he does. Instead of planning vengeance and allowing anger and hate to fester in your heart and hurt you – pray for those who hurt you. I think of a story Pastor Darlene told one Sunday morning of a well known preacher. In the early days of his marriage, he wasn’t in church. His precious wife found Jesus, she found freedom and hope and love – and she went to church. And it made him angry. Every time she would get ready to go and invite him to go with her he would belittle her. He would threaten her. One Sunday evening in particular he was extremely mad that she went and made some serious threats. He told her she had to make a choice – him or church. She got dressed and left for church. When she came home, she was locked out. She knocked, she asked him to please let her in. He would not. The next morning as he opened the door he almost tripped over her lying there, asleep in front of the door. She looked up, smiled at him, and said “What would you like me to make you for breakfast?” That was the moment that broke him. That was the moment he realized there was something different about his wife. That was the moment he started contemplating Jesus. She didn’t seek revenge and throw his stuff in the yard and burn it – she made him breakfast. She loved him like Jesus loves us – sometimes we need loving the most when we deserve it the least.
Verses 43-48 – Love Your Enemies: My commentary on that was actually written in 2015 and shared on my website. I encourage you to follow the link below – read – and reflect on those who have became enemies to your peace.
Happy Wednesday friends! We are 1/2 way to the weekend!