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December 9, 2020

| Jim Cantelon |

Matt. 5
Retaliation vv. 38-42 – Part 2

Essentially what Jesus is saying here is that we are not to take the law into our own hands. Wrong done to us by an “evil” person does not justify out doing a wrong in return. Indeed, when wrong is met with wrong, the cycle of injustice only gains momentum. This is what fuels feuds.

So Jesus does what he sometimes does: he utilizes hyperbole. Someone strikes your right cheek? Let him hit you on the left as well. Someone wants to sue the shirt off your back? Give him your coat, too. Nip the revenge reflex in the bud. Let God sort things out in the end.

The same principle applies to “occupation stresses”. The people of Jesus’ time were under duress due to the Roman forces occupying their country. Any soldier could order you to carry his kit. If he did so, carry it twice as far as he expected. And, be generous with those in need who ask a favour. Not to the point of impoverishing yourselves, but always show compassion. This way you don’t bear a grudge. Personal animosity will be cut off before it can take root.