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Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Eye For An Eye

Then they put him in custody ... And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "... as he has done, so shall it be done to him—fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth ... whoever [murders] a man shall be put to death."
~ Leviticus 24:12-13,19-21 (NKJV)

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."
~ Matthew 5:38-39 (NKJV)

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.... If you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
~ Romans 13:1,4 (NKJV)

So what does the New Testament teach—allow the evil person to do as they wish or execute wrath upon them?

There is no conflict between the passages in Matthew in Romans, nor even between Old Testament and New Testament. We are not to seek vengeance on our own against those who wrong us; those in authority are charged with holding a wrongdoer accountable and executing justice—with fairness: an eye for an eye, a life for a life.

There is no conflict between accountability and forgiveness. Ideally, one who belongs to Christ is willing to support accountability while also expressing love and forgiveness; we are willing to forgo retaliation, but need not stand still and allow ourselves to be abused. To love neighbor as self treats both neighbor and self appropriately.

Father, You know well we do not behave ideally. In the power of Your Spirit we can do all You ask. Please enable us to release to authority all that is not right in our lives, all that is not right in the world. We trust You to execute perfect justice. We trust You to dispense mercy as is fitting.

Feedback invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I love the way you love the Lord my friend, bless you.

  2. Lord I pray your mercy over our lives. Amen

  3. Denise, I do love Him and I'm blessed by your words that it shows. I love you too my dear friend. I continue to pray for you in your trials, and that all who visit here might be blessed to draw near to God.


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