Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lent Day 22: An eye for an eye

One bumper sticker on the van ahead of me in traffic reads, "What would Jesus bomb?" and the one right beside it says, "An eye for an eye, and the whole world is blind."

The driver misses the point twice. Jesus indicated no political leanings besides, "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God."

The second saying did not originate as revenge. Expressing God's desire for protection within an uncivilized slave culture, the "eye for an eye" law acted as a limiter of revenge. You could not take more from your adversary than was taken from you, JUST an eye for an eye. No more. You couldn't kill someone for making you lame or knocking out your tooth. Judging from current Middle Eastern temperaments, taking an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth and calling it "justice, done, finito!" would be a big improvement.

Jesus went a step further and said, "If your enemy demands you walk a mile with them (probably carrying their heavy pack), offer to carry it a second mile. Turn another cheek to be struck, rather than hitting back." And hardest of all to swallow: "God your Father will forgive you in the same measure you forgive those who have offended you."

Who bugs you or did you harm? Can you place them into God's care with a prayer for blessing rather than cursing, and entrust yourself to the merciful hand of God for your own sins?

Read more:
*But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3 NLT

*Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name." Daniel 9:17-19 NIV

*Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 NIV

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