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(EYE FOR AN EYE) SCRIPTURE - Mt 5:38 - 39                                                        MAY, 1998

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

SUBJECT - AN EYE, FOR AN EYE!!

This month's subject, is one of great importance, not only to the Christian, but to mankind, in general. For it deals with an often misrepresented view of what is meant by an eye, for an eye. And, it is because of this, that many people, tend to accept the common interpretation, rather than the one that I will be presenting here.

From the offset, you will notice, that Jesus Christ Himself, is speaking. And, He seems to be correcting those that He is speaking to, about what they have heard and accepted. If you will notice, the remedies that He presents, in the next few verses, are a clear sign, that somebody is wrong in their thinking, and it sure isn't Him.

He starts out with, "
Ye have heard that it hath been said, ..." meaning that the people were responding to hearsay. How many of you know, that hearsay, doesn't always relay all of the facts??? In fact, many times, there is very little truth, to it. Have you ever played the game of post office? It is a game in which one person tells something to another person, and that person passes it on to the next, and that person passes it on to the next and so on. When the last person is told, they tell everyone what it is they were told, and in most instances, it is nothing like what the first person was told.

Well, Jesus went on to address this issue by saying the correct way to respond to the evil that someone does to you, is not to go and do the same thing to them, but rather, to respond with good. But, that is a hard thing to do, given the way we have been brought up, especially when our nature cries out for revenge.

'Ohhhhhh, if only I could get my hands on that so and so, I will show them who to mess with, and who not to. Just wait until I catch them, I'll teach them a lesson.' Do these sound familiar??? They should. All of us, especially yours truly, have walked in that bag a few times. 'Got to get my revenge. Got to show them who I am. They step on my shoes, they 'got's' to pay!!! Nobody does that to me, and gets away with it!!!!' Friend, that is nothing but pride talking. And, in trying to satisfy that pride, you can get hurt, or even killed. Jesus, was telling them, that their whole way of thinking, was wrong. And, that is what I am telling you. You may have thought you had it right, but you are more than likely missing it by a mile.

First, Jesus was telling 'the victims', how to respond to wrong doing by another. This alone, should tell you, that you should not be about taking vengeance out on someone for what they have done to you. That, my friends, is God's job [Ro 12:19] Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. And He can do it far better than you or I can. And who are they going to come after?? Who can do anything to God???

So, where does this 'eye for an eye' come from?? Well, it comes from an old testament book of the law, and it addresses what the person, that has caused the problem should do themselves, to make it up to the victim. [Ex 21:24-27] Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake. These scriptures, are addressing a master, servant relationship. If a master, injured his servant, and that injury was due to the careless action of the 'master', just compensation, was for the master, to let the servant go, thus setting them free. In other situations, I would suggest that the guilty party, would have to make monetary restitution to their victim.

Today, that sort of thing would translate to something along these lines. If, say for instance, I were to do something to cause an injury to one of you to, that let's say, caused you to have to miss work, or lose your job. Then, the right thing for me to do, is to put myself, in your place as supporting your family, and paying your bills and such. That is what God was directing the people to do. Corporations, if they really wanted to do right, according to this statute of God's, would, if injury or death to one of their employees, was due to their (the corporation's) negligence, should make amends to the worker or their family, by paying that person's medical bills, supporting their families, and even as happened to a friend of mine, whose father died as a result of an industrial accident, the corporation, reserved a job for him, after he finished school. So, you see, the 'eye for an eye' concept, is totally different than what is actually in practice today.

Back then, like today, people got things all twisted around, and the victims, went out, seeking to 'make them pay', rather than the guilty ones 'doing the right thing.'

Today, as back then, many people were injured or killed, as a result of taking the law in to their own hands. And many times, an innocent person, got hurt, as a result of a feud between other people. We can look at what happens when a person, injures another today. In many cases, that person goes after the other, with the intent of inflicting more injury on them. And, let's say, they have a gun, and they go to this person's house to 'make them pay', and start shooting up the house. And a child is sitting in the house and is hit by one of the bullets. Here, in an extreme situation, an innocent child is victimized, and that sets off a chain reaction, that leads to bigger problems, and possible lives being lost. For what??? Just because someone wanted to 'make them pay.' The scenario's are endless, but you see my point. Fights between two people, have escalated to wars between families, gangs and countries. All in an 'eye for an eye' mentality.

Time out for this mess. And that is what it is, a big mess. All because we forget, that God has said He will take care of it, if we will only leave it up to Him to do so.

But, pride gets in there, and we are off to destruction. Of course, if there weren't so great a history, of the guilty one's trying to evade their obligations, then maybe a lot of this nonsense wouldn't be happening.

Many times, people resort to this mentality of 'got to make them pay', because the guilty ones, try to deny, or get away with not making restitution, to the injured party. Then, we have many of the ones that are seeking vengeance on others, are themselves guilty of trying to weasel out of wrongdoing that they have caused on someone else. So you see, we all have been on both sides of that coin. Some greater than others.

Our society today, has a big problem with 'making them pay.' Everybody wants to, if not hurt the person physically, to do it financially, by suing them. We have become obsessed with getting money from those that have injured us. Many times, because of their unwillingness to own up to what Jesus said they should be doing, when they are guilty, we have no other means of getting the situation rectified, but by taking them to court. And there is nothing wrong with that. At least that way, no one gets injured or killed. However, in other instances, people go to court, to get far more than they should, by lying about the extent of their injuries. And, if they have a good lawyer, they get the juries to award them huge sums of money, for little injuries, that are not that bad.

Now, whether a person is as injured as they claim to be, or not, is not up to me to judge. However, God, who knows all things, knows the legitimacy of a person's claims, and will judge them on their lying, in order to get money.

There are hundreds, or thousands of scenarios, that could be played out, in this case of an 'eye for an eye'. But they all have one thing in common, and that is, God has said how we should conduct ourselves, and His way is always the best way. It may not seem like it to you, just like it didn't seem like it to me. But, after seeing, and hearing of, all of the lives that are destroyed and lost as a result of the mentality of getting even has caused, I can see, that He, is far wiser than any man.

There may be some of you, that are reading this right now, and are planning to get someone for what they have done to you, or your families. The correct thing to do, is to not take matters in to your own hands. Let the law, and the courts deal with it. That is what they are for. If you have done someone wrong, then you should do what is right, and set about making amends to that person. This goes for individuals and corporations.

Do the right thing people. There is too much pain and heartache out here today.

Another thing about wanting to get even. It can make you sick, physically. Worrying, plotting and scheming on how to get even, and then after you do, dealing with the guilt and the fact that they may now be looking for you to get you back, can drive you to all sorts of physical and mental ailments. Ulcers, high blood pressure, headaches, drinking, drugs and even insanity and suicide, are all possibilities that can come out of this 'got to make them pay' attitude.

Also, think about this. By right, God has enough on all of us, to send us to hell right now, if He wanted to, and He would be justified in doing it. We are all guilty of treason, and crucifying His Son (Jesus Christ), and yet, He has extended a hand of grace and mercy to all of us, in order to give us a chance to come clean. So, you see, if God can do it, you can too. Of course, you need His help in doing it. It takes His power, to overcome that fleshly, devilish pride, that is rooted so deeply in our souls. Your flesh, is allied with the devil, and he is bent on your destruction, 'by any means necessary.' That means, he uses your flesh, to destroy your soul. And if that means, using God's words to do it, he will. He will take it, and twist it, and make you think you are doing what God says is right, while all the time, leading you to an early grave, and to hell. This is the gist of what Jesus was telling the people about an 'eye for an eye.'

Are you in a situation today, where you are plotting to get even with someone??? Are you the one, that someone is after, because you have done something wrong to them, and they want to get even??? Maybe you are in a relationship with someone that has cheated on you, and you want to get even by cheating on them???
You lost your job, and you want to go and make the one that fired you, pay. I plead the blood of Jesus over you and that situation right now, that God will turn the whole thing around, before another tragedy occurs, or another innocent life is affected.

Will you do this?? Ask Jesus to come in to your heart, and cleanse you from all the hurt and pain you are experiencing, as well as the anger, and to give you a clean slate, with your adversaries, as well as with Him. Just say this prayer, right now, wherever you are, Jesus, help me. I have made a total mess of my life, trying to do things that are not right. I have hurt people, and have been hurt, and I need peace and stability in my life again. You said, 'come unto Me, all of you that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, for your souls. I ask you, as Peter did, when he was sinking in the sea, 'Lord save me.' I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, and arose again from the dead, and you are sitting on the right hand of God the Father.

With that simple prayer, you are on your way to peace of mind, and peace with God. Now, start forgiving, and go tell somebody.

NEXT MONTH'S MESSAGE - HERE COMES THE JUDGE!!!
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