SOAP Devotional 2016-02-11
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” –Matthew 5:38-42 NLT
An eye for an eye. This command is found in Ex 21:24, Lev 24:20, De 19:21. It was a legal rule to regulate the decisions of judges, but it had become misused by ordinary people to justify revenge. As a judicial rule, it is just, but revenge always leads to problems. Taken on by the individual it almost always goes further. The other sayings carry this thought of not having a revenge filled spirit out through ordinary applications. Instead of seeking to personally get revenge, we should prepare our selves to endure more of the same. After all, most people who do wrong to someone are prone to continue doing everyone that way. Since this passage is dealing with preventing a revengeful attitude, it should be noted that it has nothing to do with not allowing self-defense. That is a misuse of the text. People have a biblical obligation to protect their families and others. What we do not have permission to do is to get even.
In life, we will be done wrong by others at times. I am not trying to be negative, it is just a fact. At times it will even be people that we really care about. As Christians, we cannot let these events change us into revengeful people. Instead we have to forgive and move on. We do not need to get even or force them to apologize before we continue in our relationship. Instead we keep building relationships through forgiveness. We should also note that others have to forgive us as much as we have to forgive them. We “go the extra mile.”
Father help me to be quick to forgive rather than to seek how I can get revenge. If there are attitudes of unforgiveness in my heart toward anyone, help me to put it aside. Let me realize that it is not my responsibility to teach them a lesson or to get even. You handle judicial matters and not me.