Retaliation

If we are hurt, put down, abused, or cheated, our first impulse is to “get even” or “get back.” The law of Moses allowed this. It was eye for eye and tooth for tooth. The attitude was, “If you hurt me, I will hurt you.” Jesus taught us to respond in a different way.
“You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil” (Matthew 5:38,39).
Jesus knew that evil cannot be conquered by retaliation. Returning evil for evil only serves to perpetuate and magnify the wrong. Retaliation does not help the retaliator — anger, resentment, and hate still remain in his heart. It does not help the one who received retaliation. It only makes him want to strike back again. Strife cannot cease between two enemies until one decides to absorb the wrong without seeking retaliation. Jesus’ death exemplified this.
“…and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).
This does not mean that evil will not be punished or righteousness will not be vindicated. God will take care of vengeance in his own good time and in his own way. Paul encouraged Christians to pay back good for evil.
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him drink … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21).

The following two tabs change content below.

Jimmy Jividen

Latest posts by Jimmy Jividen (see all)

One thought on “Retaliation

  1. “If we are hurt, put down, abused, or cheated, our first impulse is to “get even” or “get back.” The law of Moses allowed this. It was eye for eye and tooth for tooth. The attitude was, ‘If you hurt me, I will hurt you.'”
    I agree with you regarding what Jesus taught, but wasn’t this understanding of “eye for eye” really the reflection of the Rabbinical traditions and not the actual law of Moses itself? The expression “eye for eye” as used in the Law of Moses wasn’t meant to justify retaliation, but rather, the principle that the punishment should fit the crime. Were the common people in Israel allowed to retaliate under the law of Moses? I don’t think so. They had judges to determine such matters and they were to submit to their judgment. Each family also had an “avenger” that could pursue justice in certain capital crime circumstances, but not just anyone was allowed to retaliate. See Deuteronomy 16:18, 25:1 and Numbers 35:12ff.

Share your thoughts: