38 「你們聽見有話說：『以眼還眼，以牙還牙。』 39 只是我告訴你們，不要與惡人作對。有人打你的右臉，連左臉也轉過來由他打； 40 有人想要告你，要拿你的裡衣，連外衣也由他拿去； 41 有人強逼你走一里路，你就同他走二里。 42 有求你的，就給他；有向你借貸的，不可推辭。」
“Unreasonable” Reasons ~Rev. Bernie Chung
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
These examples given in the fifth chapter of Matthew's Gospel are intended to teach the people of God’s Kingdom how to apply the principles of the Mosaic Law in Exodus when judging sin, and let them become codes of conduct in our fair dealings with others. These principles serve as warnings against willful criminals and are not for abusive use to foster vengeance. Unfortunately, there will still be people who would interpret these literally and gouge out the eye of the wrongdoer as justifiable compensation. The original intent of the law is to let those guilty of crimes to repay their wrong doings with equal value (NOT an eye for an eye), thus deterring further hatred and evil deeds. It serves as a guideline to persuade the people of the Kingdom of Heaven to behave as God’s people, not to "return to the way of others", but to show others our inner nature of changed life in Lord Jesus.
“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (5:29). This verse is often used to embarrass and ridicule Christians. It’s interesting to note that when a party hits you on the right cheek, that person is using a weaker left hand to slap you (assuming he’s right-handed). In other words, he uses the back of the dominant right hand to slap you. It is a deliberate act of provocation either way. But the Bible tells us to turn the other cheek as well. Just imagine how surprised the attacker would be, and this would give him time to reflect on his shameful action and to consider other ways to resolve disputes. There may be spectators who are curious to witness how we Christians deal with unfair treatments. They would be amazed when we follow the “unreasonable” reasons to turn our other cheek, or “unreasonably” allowing a thief to take away our other coat as well.
Like a coin, the teaching of these Bible verses has two sides—one side is "righteousness and judgment" and the other side is "mercy and forgiveness"; and there needs to be a balance between the two. Under the judgment, our sins have no place to hide. Our Lord Jesus is the righteous judge, and by His great love He paid for our sins with His blood. Therefore, we are forgiven and reconciled to God. Brothers and Sisters, do not misunderstand God’s teachings by using literal interpretations. We often struggle between “wins and losses”, and “rights and wrongs” through our narrow lens. Just remember God allows everything happen to us to have His good intentions, so that we can display His glory. We may not be able to change overnight, but with perseverance, the Holy Spirit will help to renew over time. Our actions will no longer be governed by our own thoughts and feelings but will be led by the Holy Spirit. May God help us all to be good witnesses for Him, at all times. Amen!