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                                                                                        Mathew 5:38-48


You may have heard someone try to justify revenge because, as they will tell you, it 'says so' in the Bible. Those that say this are referring to the verse in the book of exodus;


       "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." Ex. 21:24-25


However, as it happens a lot of times, these verses are taken out of context to try and fill mans preconditioned notion of what God is saying in His word. The verses in this chapter of Exodus does NOT even imply this is a law that justifies getting back' at anyone. They were part of a law for response of certain offenses under particular circumstances. It is saying  to respond with no more than than what was given.


Jesus even spoke about this in the New testament in the Book of Mathew. Here He clearly gives us an answer to those who say that revenge is a biblical teaching. His words also give us a righteous response to the situation of persecution in ones life.


 “You have heard that it was said,  ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away."  Mat. 5:38-42

                                                                                                         

These teachings from Jesus in the book of Mathew have great application in our lives today. How often do you deal with people who persecute you? Steal from you? In our work place there are many instances of people 'back stabbing one another in an attempt to advance themselves at the expense of others. As children, torment from other children is a common thing, but as we grow older we realize, these issues are harder to deal with. The words in the above passages is how we should handle these things. Our Lord has given us instruction on what to do in these circumstances. If you think you can't or should not have to put up with this type of behavior from fellow man, remember what Jesus went through, and especially why He went through those terrible times of persecution..........for you and me..... because of His love for you and me.


 Now, does this mean we should stand idly by and let whoever wants to do us harm have their way? No. The emphasis here is to pray for those that persecute you, to instill in us that our first reaction should be forgiveness. Jesus stressed the importance of forgiveness, to love one another. yes even "your enemies";


“You have heard that it was said,  ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you,  love your enemies, bless those  who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you," Mat. 5:43-44


Remember, treating people good that are only good to you gains you nothing in God's eyes. What advantage is it if you only have support from your 'fan club'? To show others that you truly have a forgiving heart and you can forgive those mistakes people make is the likeness of God a true Christian should try to

obtain;


     "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the  good, and sends rain on the just and  on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet  your brethren only,  what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be  perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."  Mat. 5:45-48