Eye for Eye

Eye for Eye: Matthew 5:38-42

Thoughts about serving others

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One Reply to “Eye for Eye”

  1. This is an easy passage to read, but a rather difficult passage to apply. Do we allow ourselves to be mugged, beaten and even killed? Is there no place for self-preservation? Or is this interpretation missing the mark? There is much to say about this short passage and much to be considered.

    Yet, while this contrast is indeed shocking, it’s important we note that Jesus’ new “teaching is not [a] transgression of the Law, but its transcendence,” as Boring puts it.[4] Jesus repudiated aspects of the OT law not by encouraging people to break any laws, but by teaching and embodying a way of life that reflected the wholeness (teleios) of the Father (Mt. 5:48, cf. 17-20). http://reknew.org/2014/10/eye-for-eye-that-time-jesus-refuted-an-old-testament-teaching

    Note [4]: M.E. Boring, “Matthew,” in The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol VIII., ed. L. Keck (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995) 188.

    Interesting thoughts. Jesus’ teachings are designed to get the ball rolling again, to move us forward in our relationship with God and with each other. We are no longer meant to be a judgmental people that cling to self-righteousness; rather, we are to be a loving people that seek to understand each other above our differences. Compare this with Jesus words as part of this sermon:

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17

    Somehow we must learn to move beyond the laws of Exodus 21 (various laws regarding personal injury) toward a place where God is honored above all else. Perhaps Jesus is telling us to stop looking for ways to pick a fight, to affect punishment on others, to prove ourselves better than others. I like to think that Jesus is not asking us to leap into martyrdom, but rather to stop looking for ways to prove we are righteous. Our first reaction to retaliate must be changed to a Godly perspective and desire for all to enter the kingdom of heaven, even the bully. If the Holy Spirit is truly living inside of us and our intentions are based in his prompting, each test of faith will lead us toward Christ.

    I think I’ve only scratched the surface on this one. It’ll be interesting to reconsider this passage later in life as my perspective has become more heaven-oriented in the last few years. Holy Spirit, come and fill my heart, my mind, my every thought and deed. Move me in your direction and give me strength to put you first, far beyond my selfish desires.

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