Luke 6: 27-38
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Kindness matters to God. Our behaving in a loving way to others matters to God. Forgiving others matters to God. If it did not matter, He would not have told us so often in His Word.
The above passage is quite complete, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, is one of my most used “go to” passages in God’s Word.
Is the description above how we are today? Well, now; we know that it is not. To get a clearer picture of how we are today, let’s take a trip back to Matthew Chapter 5, where Jesus delivers the same lesson with some additional comments.
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. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The two phrases I want to key in on are the following:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
What makes these passages notable is Jesus’ use of the phrase it hath been said. What the really means is, “Okay, the Old Testament Scripture kind of said what you say it said, but you have taken it and twisted in around to suit your own needs.”
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth was never meant to be a code for personal revenge. This was part of the judicial code in the Mosaic Law. This was simply part of the law of the land of the day. This was official conduct and action, not personal conduct and action. It was never used in the context of interpersonal relationships, but always in the context of a civil judge presiding. It was no more than the law following the example we see even today, that the punishment should fit the crime.
The problem was, that the Pharisees had taken that snippet of Mosaic Law and used it to justify and give the okay to their concept of extracting personal revenge on their enemies.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. Indeed, God commanded us to love our neighbor. He commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves in fact:
Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Which of course references:
Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
What is missing in those two passages? Yep, it’s that whole and hate thing enemy thing.! God never said that. Again, this was just a conclusion drawn over the years by those studying and writing about the Law, and adding volumes to it I might add. “Hey, God says love your neighbor. He never mentions our enemies. That must mean it’s okay to hate our enemies!”
So again, which one are we today? Clearly, in most of the modern culture, we are far more like the Pharisees of that day than the actual standard God originally had, or the clarified lesson Jesus taught.
What’s in it for me?
Payback is a ______!
I’m gonna get you sucka!
It’s my money and I want it now!
I’ve got rights!
That’s us isn’t it? The problem is, that is our sinful selves; it is not the selves we should be as new creatures in Jesus Christ. As we continue on, we will look closely at what that actually means.