Daily D – Matthew 5:38-39
“You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
MATTHEW 5:38-39 (CSB)
Bob Newhart is one of the funniest men who has ever lived. Schedule six minutes or so and watch this routine as he plays the role of a counselor who dispenses a two-word solution to every problem. ([https://bit.ly/2YuOFOD])
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the accompanying applications to different scenarios, one of the protective limitations was the idea Jesus references here to an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. In assessing punishment for an offense, the punishment could not exceed the original offense. This protected people from turning molehill offenses into mountains of retribution.
Jesus takes things a step further. He says, “don’t resist an evildoer.” In other words, “No hit-backs.” Stop the cycle of retribution. Do not get even. Practice the discipline of not having the last word.
This does not mean that we cannot practice self-defense. It does mean that we should be hard to offend. Retaliation is almost always the wrong first step.
Carey Nieuwhof hosts a highly-regarded leadership podcast. I never miss it. Episode 406 featured Steve Cuss. Cuss talked about how anxiety spreads in a group and how to diffuse your personal anxiety. This podcast episode lasts one hour and forty-two minutes. It is one of the richest and most rewarding listens you will find. It may have something to do with Cuss’s accent.
Cuss talks about bearing a non-anxious presence in moments of conflict. What he says reminds me of what Jesus says here. Be fully present and be hard to offend. Seek first to understand. Live generously with forgiveness and reconciliation always close at hand. Resolve conflicts at the lowest possible level to prevent unnecessary escalation.
The word translated resist in verse 39 can also mean retaliate. Jesus says, “Don’t retaliate.” The Apostle Paul would later ask a powerful question: “Why not rather be wronged?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)
You and I experience much more peace and much less anxiety when we are hard to offend and when we refuse to retaliate. Practicing this lifestyle for a while leads us to ask another question: “Why create unnecessary anxiety?”
I will be hard to offend.
Our Father, I will be tested today in the area of personal offense. Give me the grace I need to avoid escalating conflict. Empower me to go the distance necessary to defuse anger and to spread peace. Amen.
CONNECT WITH ME!
Interested in learning more about Church Unique or Life Younique? Send a note through the Get In Touch box or Message me through the Facebook link above.
GET IN TOUCH!
READ MY BLOG!
Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.