“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.”
What do you do when your spouse forgets to pay a bill on time? Or when your friend makes an insensitive comment? Or when another driver cuts you off? What is your first instinct?
Maybe you are the kind of person who wants to fight back when someone hurts you or makes things difficult for you. You raise your voice. You make personal attacks.
Or maybe you’re not the type to lash out. Instead, you give people the silent treatment. You stop returning texts or you walk out of the room and refuse to discuss any more.
The desire to retaliate is actually rooted in a God-given desire for justice. We understand intuitively that people should be held accountable for things that they’ve done. But our ideas of justice are easily tainted by our own anger and our feelings of self-righteousness.
In this passage Jesus leads us in a better way, inviting us to let go of revenge and to trust God as our defender. God sees and knows our suffering. He longs for justice to be done. And in his mercy, God also desires that all people would turn from sin, come to faith, and have new life in him.
Father, help me to turn my hurts over to you rather than seeking revenge. Give me the wisdom to respond with patience and compassion when I feel offended. Amen.