38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 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. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (St. Matthew Ch.5 – KJV)
How often have you said or heard the statement “an eye for an eye” but the passage is never finished? In the St. Matthew passage, Jesus refers to Exodus 21:22 as He says…”But I say unto you”. And He ends the passage with “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” It is wonderful to be able to read and understand the whole passage, not just what you want it to say. Unfortunately, most people do not read and, if they can read, understand the entire passage. Saying and believing only what you want the passage to say is not being “perfect”.
Many years ago school was conducted by using the Bible. Almost every subject that was taught was in the Bible with the majority coming from the Old Testament. In Exodus the story refers to the killing of an unborn child and the punishment that is given. That killing (murder) passes onto today’s justice (sentence, if you will) but never refers to the Bible although that is where most of our laws derive from. However, even there it is only a small portion of the Bible passage.
Let’s take a hypothetical situation…..You are a policeman, religious and on a beat. Suddenly you are shot at; the assailant drop the gun and run away. You are angry. You run after him, catch up to him and shoot him to stop him although you know he dropped the gun. Thinking religiously, you are correct because of the “eye for an eye”; he shot at you and shot at him. Now, legally, he was running away therefore you can not shoot at him plus he had dropped the gun.
I have previously said that the law have a foundation in the Bible but, in this case, there is something wrong. Do what is in the Bible (Old Testament or New Testament) or do what is in the law? What is right and what is wrong? We could be as the people in the Mideast and be called what we call them…uncivilized, barbaric, lawless, terrorist, sadistic. We could hold grudges as long as the Peoples of other lands have, thousands of years. In fact, we have done this. Not as long but we do hold grudges for a very long time and will, given the chance, act upon them. Are we acting as written in the Bible? Are we trying to be perfect by acting upon an old grudge, even a new one? Another question, are we acting as in the Old Testament or the New Testament?
I follow Jesus and He said to turn the other cheek, not an eye for an eye. He said, “ye have heard….” which meant it was in the Old Testament. Therefore, when He said “but I say unto you…” mean, I am the New Testament, follow Me, turn the other cheek and so on.