Replacing the Law of Retaliation with the Law of Christ in personal life

Posted by admin on 10 December 2013 in Matthew |

Matthew 5:39 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 

Most people are right-handed. How can a right-handed person slap the right cheek of another person? It is possible by slapping with the back of the right hand. Slapping with the back of the right hand is twice more insulting than slapping with the flat of the right hand. Also slapping with the back of the right hand can’t severely injure a person physically. So it is clearly different from brutal attack that can injure the person who receives it.

So, this verse is clearly about how to respond to the personal “insult”. “insult” is felt when you are treated too lightly as a nothing. Sometimes people insult those who believe in Jesus simply because of their belief.

Based on the Law (“an eye to an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21), a slap also could be sued legally for compensation. Note individuals were not permitted to use this law to settle disputes with others. Only the courts were permitted to do so. People misunderstood and misused this law even against personal insult by insulting back.

The response taught by Jesus is “turning to them the other cheek also”. This is the revolutionary way to respond to the insult. This is how God wants us to handle personal insult. The Law of Retaliation should be practiced not by individuals but by courts.

It is not easy to put down our pride and give up our rights. But this response will show them we have love greater than their hatred and insult – the love that can take further insult on the other cheek, because we are eager to save them.

Also, you are blessed when you have to do this for the sake of Christ (Matthew 5:11, 12).

 

Reference:

Hughes, R. K. (2001). The sermon on the mount: the message of the kingdom. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 

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