Vengeance Is the Lord’s
Read Matthew 5:38-40
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
When you read the verses for today, what was your initial reaction? Do you like the idea of turning the other cheek?
If I’m being honest, these words don’t always sit well with me. I have a strong desire for justice, and when a wrong has been done to me, the urge to retaliate is difficult to suppress. And yet, Jesus said these words so I would do well to listen and obey them.
The concept of “an eye for an eye” first shows up in Exodus 21:24. Moses is giving the law and is explaining punishments that fit, but do not exceed, the crime committed. This law was intended to ensure that fair justice was served by the judges. It was not intended to condone personal vengeance. Jesus was simply correcting a misunderstanding of the true meaning of the law.
We want to fight back when someone wrongs us. We want revenge. We want justice served so much that we seek to serve it ourselves. In doing so, we are not only committing sins of our own, but we usually cause even more trouble. Jesus lovingly reminds us not to fight back.
But don’t worry. No one is getting away with anything. Romans 12:19 reassures us, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” God is still a God of justice. He is the perfect judge. Justice will always be served. It’s just not your job.
God, thank You for being the Perfect Judge. Help me submit to Your commands today to turn the other cheek and leave the vengeance to You. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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