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Sweet Revenge!

You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ (Matt5:38 NASB)

The Old Testament Law gave a place for you to avenge yourself when you had been wronged, but this was not actually the heart of God, even in the Old Economy. Check out this smattering of how God wants to deal with offences against His people.

Deut 32:35 ‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’

Deut 32:43 “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”

Psalm 94:1-3 O LORD, God of vengeance; God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth; Render recompense to the proud. How long shall the wicked, O LORD, How long shall the wicked exult?

Nahum 1:2-3 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.

And not just the Old, but check out what we are told in Romans and Hebrews as well:

Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”

Are you getting the sense that God does not need us, or want us to take up for our own rights, and our own revenge?

But in case you were not sure – there is another shoe about to drop. Jesus (as he is want to do) is going take the idea of revenge and turn it right around.

But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matt5:39 NASB)

It is one thing to leave a person’s final judgment in the hand of the All Knowing One, but Jesus is about to make it sound like we are to lay down and just take any abuse that is thrown our way. Here is where the Kingdom of God is really upside-down.

Listen to the 5 applications:

  1. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
  2. If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
  3. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
  4. Give to the one who asks you,
  5. Do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Turn the other cheek” These may well be the most famous words of Jesus outside the church walls. Everyone has heard this and the world loves to quote it to Christians as a way of keeping us in our place, or abusing us.

Later on in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7:12) Jesus will give us the “golden rule”

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The passage we are looking at today makes it clear that Jesus intends for us to walk on a completely different plane than those around us. We are to act toward others as though they actively love us like God does, with no regard to how they actually act toward us. (What?!?)

Let me make it plain – God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) He wants us to treat others as though they had laid down the life of their son in order to rescue us, even if they hate us, even if they are actively hostile toward us.

Is your head spinning – if not – read that again, because the very idea makes my head spin.

Hey, thanks for stopping in today.

See you tomorrow.


photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

0 thoughts on “Sweet Revenge!

  1. Stefan

    The matter of "no revenge" and "turn the other cheek" is incomprehensible to any sensitive person, and "the laws of nature" force you to respond in kind AND feel justified to do so. But the Lord Jesus "brought in another concept" - turn the other cheek when someone slaps you on one cheek. That's not only not easy - this is IMPOSSIBLE! I mean, you can do this once, twice, but to have this attitude of not being vengeful - when so many unrighteous men are around you and some are quite evil towards you... it's impossible NOT to be vengeful!

    The key to this is simply "You therefore shall be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect" (the last verse in Matt. 5). All the born again children of God and true disciples of Jesus CAN turn the other cheek because the Lord Jesus lives in them, and His life can do it in us! This is why we need to learn to live by another life - the divine life, so that it would be "no more I but Christ" - and He will DO IT in us! Lord, live Thyself through us!

    1. Ben Nelson

      So true Stefan, That is the only way to live out any of the sermon on the mount. The only hope we have for living out the Christian life is Christ in You the Hope of Glory! Thanks for stopping by, and for the insightful comment.

  2. Larry Carroll

    Well, Ben, you made it quite plain. Thank you. As Stephan said, so impossible, yet so necessary!

    An old song that addresses how to live this out is:
    "Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    Look full in His wonderful face,
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of His glory and grace."

    We absolutely need to live in His presence and sense His presence continually, as Brother Lawrence did.

  3. meetingintheclouds

    I think Stefan summed it up in his closing paragraph.
    The fact is that we (I, myself, me) can not respond the way we are commanded in Scripture, but Christ IN ME can, and will, and does when we YIELD to Him and allow Him to take control. I am a NEW creation. The old me is gone and I am now under new management.

    What an amazing redemption!
    What an amazing triune God!

  4. Caddo Veil

    Yep, I'm in the spin cycle--but that's okay, I like the way you write, Ben!! I'm so excited today I can barely sit still--remember, awhile back, I told you about someone with whom I had a mutual "issue", and a mutual avoidance of, in the grocery store?? Well, today was the day God set up a Divine appointment. I had fussed about it till I wore myself out, and told God I was willing to do whatever He wanted--but He had to let me know the what and how and when, as I was pretty short on ideas. I now see that as a good thing--when our hearts are truly "willing", and we can put something "securely" in the Lord's hands, then things snap together! I was card shopping in the grocery store--and the other party was also there, maybe 15 feet from me. The usual temptation was to exit stage left, but I said, "now, Lord?" And Ben, I didn't even wait to hear God's answer--just moved fast Toward the dude. I didn't even "think about" what to say--just told him I was sorry about the BIG misunderstanding, and asked him to forgive me. It was all over, quick--no excess words on either side, and no further worries about shopping in the same grocery store! And that's one less thing the enemy will be able to bug me about, so there!! Thank you, Ben--for your help with this (quiet, behind the scenes)--hope you're rejoicing with me--a Jesus Victory day!! God bless you big--love, sis Caddo

    1. Ben Nelson

      Oh Man Oh Man - that is such a great report! I am thrilled. You are so courageous and it is great to hear how sensitive to the Spirit. Good job sis. Your the best.
      Yay God, and Yah Caddo!

      Your biggest fan, Ben

  5. Debbie

    I'm rejoicing with you and sis Caddo too! That was an amazing "turn the other cheek" story! 🙂
    And at the end of your post I had to just smile, because you left us in spin cycle. haha! I only know that sometimes I think I am going to say or do something . ..maybe went over it all day long . .. then when the opportunity comes and I open my mouth or extend my hand, something else entirely comes out and about. Something kind and gracious and forgiving. Maybe the other person is surprised, but most likely not as much as I am. ! Thank you Jesus, for working Your wonders through us! God bless you, Ben!

    1. Ben Nelson

      Amen on all levels here - That is why we (and this is one the hardest things for me) need to be slow to speak. I am such a blurt-er it isn't funny - and i miss the opportunity for the Lord to season my words.
      Ah - the good news is I am still sucking wind and so God can still fix what is broke!
      Thanks so much for reading, and for your kind words.


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