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The Scriptures – Matthew 5:38-39; Proverbs 20:22, 24:29
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye must be put out for an eye. A tooth must be knocked out for a tooth.’ (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21) But here is what I tell you. Do not fight against an evil person. Suppose someone slaps you on your right cheek. Turn your other cheek to them also (Matthew 5:38-39, NIRV).
Don’t say, “I’ll get even with you for the wrong you did to me!” Wait for the Lord, and he will make things right for you (Proverbs 20:22).
Don’t say, “I’ll do to them what they have done to me. I’ll get even with them for what they did (Proverbs 24:29).”
Have you found passages you struggle to really understand in the Sermon on the Mount yet (Matthew 5-7)?
For myself, this is one of those Scriptures I wrestle to understand. There is just something about this passage. We are faced with what we really believe in moments like these. Vengeance versus grace.
Today, I am reminded of the strength shown when we made decisions against our pride’s preferences. It takes a strong believer in Christ, to allow an evil person to have what looks like the upper-hand (at least momentarily).
We must take our faith and put it into action, as we read passages like these. It takes faith to put this passage into action. It is not for the faint of heart. Why? It requires us to fully surrender everything to Christ. It requires us to leave everything we are and possess at the foot of the cross. It requires us to deny ourselves and to take up our own cross, just as Jesus taught us to do (see Matthew 16:24-26).
In these moments, we are faced with what we truly believe about Jesus Christ and the call to surrender everything to follow Him.
In moments such as this one in our Matthew passage, we have to remember who it is we are living for. The One who has given us His full armor. Custom built armor for our very difficult circumstances. When we wear the armor of God, we can fight well through the love of Christ.
His armor and protection is exactly why I can make different choices, when met with attacks and suffering. It is only because of Christ, that I can have the strength to not retaliate. It is only because of Christ, that I can overcome evil with good – rather than adding even more evil to the world.
We each must make the choice to follow Jesus one baby step, at a time. It is only as we follow Jesus, that we can conquer evil – and through His love and grace.
Christ is far greater than anything or anyone we could meet or face, and we need to keep allowing Him to be the Greater in our lives.
Lord God, Help me to carry my cross. I pray You would remove the anger and strife in my spirit. Remove all desires to be ‘right’ or issue ‘pay back’. Help me to let You be far greater! Keep helping me, my Father. I need You to do what only You can do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.