Matthew 5:38-42 – Teaching about revenge

We live in a world where bullies have power to dominate and intimidate us.

People say “I don’t get mad, I get even” and “I’ve got rights.”

The Old Testament implies revenge is OK, if it delivers like action to like action. Retaliation hurts.
Jesus tells us to love without limits.

In his time, a slap on the face from a right handed person would sting the left cheek, and give offense.

Rather than strike back, Jesus urges us to offer our right cheek too – the slap this time, delivered by the back of the hand, gives even more offensive.

He does not want us to give in to bullies, but to be the better person. Forget it and move on. Return evil with good, not revenge. Give more than expected. Love them as Christ loves us. Better yet, pray for them.

Can I really do that? Could I give up the emotional satisfaction of retaliation in favour of giving limitless love?

Jesus asks us to spread the seeds of love and hope in our encounters with each other.

The Reverend Deacon Nancy McBride, 
St Paul’s Caledonia.