With all of the craziness going on right now Exodus 21:23-25 came to mind. I would think all Christians would know this verse since it is used for the most part the sense of punishment. As I was listening to the DNC/RNC sides and why they think they are the best candidate, this verse is known as the “an eye for an eye” concept.
My brain has been working overtime on this verse, and that is because I have been imagining all kinds of craziness. So, let me take you on a stroll down my crazy lane thoughts and then I will go into what the concept of “an eye for an eye.”
So, here it goes;
- If someone stole a candy bar or another item, then they would have their hands chopped off. It is better to lose your hand instead of loosing your life.
- If you broke someones leg or other bodily part, then they would lose their leg.
- If you lusted after a man/woman, then you would lose your site. I would think we would have a lot of people running around with no eyes. Not what I want to see.
- If someone a county bombs us, then we are to bomb them in return.
- If someone kicks you, then in return you would kick them.
- If someone burns you, then in return you would burn them.
- In Exodus 21:16 it states that whoever kidnaps a person then they should receive the death penalty.
The idea of “an eye for eye,” which is also called jus talionis or lex talionis ( Latin, ‘law of retaliation’), may have originated in ancient near-Eastern and Middle Eastern law, such as Babylonian law. Basically what they are saying is that the punishment must fit the crime and there should be a just penalty for evil actions. If we were to take “an eye for an eye” alone, we would find people with no eyes, hands or fingers missing and heads rolling around because their mind was thinking about things it wasn’t suppose to.
Again my thoughts return to the phrase”An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The whole world would be blind and have no teeth. I guess that would be a good way to lose weight, lol. If you can eat since you have no teeth, then you may have a problem.
Old Testament Times
In Deuteronomy 19:20-21. The “eye for an eye” points out where God was pretty much letting them know what the punishment would be for anyone who gets into their mind that they would injure another person in a physical way.
The follower of Christ lives by the law of forgiveness. Not only are we to avoid seeking revenge on our enemies, but we are to show them love (Luke 6:27). I have a bit of a problem in this area. I know that we are supposed to love our enemies, but I have a hard time doing that. The way I respond is that if they are going to do this to me, I am going to get even and make them pay for what they are doing. It’s pretty easy to justify doing to them what they did to me. However, that those who are believers in Jesus Christ, that we should NOT be revengeful since that God is in charge.
While I was looking into the whole ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ I decided to venture in the slapping of the cheeks.I would like to add that if someone slapped me, I may have to deck them, lol. We are also told to not resist evil. 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.”
When we read about God in the Old Testament He spoke about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I’m willing to bet that God wasn’t intending us to retaliate if anyone does something to you. He isn’t giving you the green light to get even with them if they would poke your eye out. And when they do that, you go chasing them down like a mad woman so you can poke his/her eyes out. I would guess it would be hard to go running after them if you had no eyes. Hmmm! If he knocks your tooth out, then you best be getting some pliers and get his. Hopefully they will fit in your mouth lol. Seriously, don’t go chasing down people so you can poke their eyes out or to get their teeth. That’s pretty barbaric if you ask me.
I think I have problems with the turning the other cheek thing because I am an American. In our society we are conditioned to think that we all have certain rights. Which we have probably more than any other country. I can’t help but feel that while we are demanding all of these things that we are missing the point or grace and forgiveness. I honestly feel that we are the ME society instead of focusing on love. We are conscious of what our rights are. The mentality is that “you’ll never get away with that.” All the while under your secretly plotting on how you will get even.
With the presidential elections coming up and all the campaigning, my heart and mind is distracted. While I was watching the conventions for the Republicans/Trump and the Democrats/Hillary, I couldn’t help but notice how on the outside they look courageous, strong and made of steel. While I am watching this fiasco happening before my eyes, it became apparent that there are those who look down on the people. I find it shameful that there are those who would sell their souls in order to be part of the inner circle. I can’t stand in unison with someone or associate with someone who goes against what is right. I’m not willing to choose the lesser of two evils. It doesn’t matter who the lesser of the two evils are, evil is evil no matter how you spell it out. You have those who look up to these candidates as if they are going to be their savior.
As I looked at all of the people in the crowds during the conferences and in our country, I couldn’t help but think about Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Those who were welcoming Jesus wasn’t proud nor over the top, but simply humble. Jesus, the King of Kings, chose to demonstrate His humility by riding on a humble creature. As He rode into Jerusalem, they were cheering him. As I watched these historical moments that were spread out for days, I would listen to the crowds as they praised and worship the candidates as if either of them greater than Jesus, it makes me ill.
One of the things that I have noticed lately is that we have groups that are fighting for their rights and these fights take place in our society. As we see these things play out, lawlessness becomes the norm. People are demanding their rights and selfishness is taking place. We all have certain rights, but when those rights hurt others, then we need to re-evaluate them. Just because we have a right to do something, that doesn’t mean we should. People are loosing sight of who and what is important. The ugliness of the human heart struggles to get even with mankind and anyone who thinks differently. Morals are being thrown out the window .
As I ponder the meaning of “an eye for an eye,” and “turning the other cheek,” I go to Romans 14-15, where it says, “Don’t use your liberty to make anyone stumble.” Yes, we have rights, but there are times that those rights are offensive to others and not pleasing to God. It seems like people are seeing how far they can push the envelope and fight for what our rights are. I guess I have the mentality that I live here on this planet, but it isn’t my home. As I look at how society is unforgiving, vengeful and retaliate it makes me want to see Jesus Christ coming in to save the day.
As I think about the Sermon on the Mount, I couldn’t help by notice the similarities of our time. The scribes and the Pharisees believed they were self-righteous based on their own merits. They beleived that they could enter the Kingdon of God because of their own self-righteousness.
FYI- What’s With Turning the Other Cheek?
In Western society today, one person spitting on another is a contemptuous, especially offensive insult. In the time of Jesus, being slapped on the right cheek was similarly offensive. The average person was assumed to be right-handed, thus the perception was that striking a person on the right cheek required with a backhanded slap. That action was one of the more egregious insults in the ancient world. It communicated utter contempt toward someone considered inferior. In fact, it was such a serious offense that both Jewish and Roman law allowed a victim of this kind of slap to take his abuser to court and demand restitution. Source- Beliefnet.com.