March 3: Do Not Retaliate (Matt. 5:38-42)
Matthew 5:38-42 You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
In this passage Jesus calls the citizens of the kingdom to return good for evil. In the face of personal offenses, injuries and attacks, Jesus commands us to not defend our name or honor, but rather to abandon our rights and even demonstrate generosity toward those who hurt us, knowing that our kingdom is not of this world, but the next. To walk in these words of Jesus we will need to have a firm understanding of the goodness of God in the gospel of Jesus, as well as the sovereignty of God in superintending all events in life. Consider how a “greater righteousness” is revealed through forgiveness and forbearance exercised toward those who have offended you.
Review and Apply
- What is the typical posture of your heart when you are wronged? What is your first response to an offense? Give examples of offense and response.
- How would others view your response when you are wonged?
- How does Jesus deepen the law’s intent and help us to avoid a retaliatory response when offended? What replaces a retaliatory response?
- When we respond in a manner pleasing to God, what is the result as we put off the old responses and put on the new?
- How do we overcome the natural response of the heart and respond in a Christ-like manner to being wronged?
- If you recently have responded in an unbiblical manner, go to that person and ask forgiveness for your sinful response.
- Ask another brother or sister to observe your life and bring to your attention when you respond in an unbiblical fashion.
As we share in communion together this Sunday, consider it an opportunity to review and renew your commitments to the other members of Christ Covenant. Together, we are united and committed to living as followers of Christ in all that he has called us to. We believe that includes at least the following:
Loving God's glory by:
- attending church faithfully, (Hebrews 10:25)
- giving regularly, (1 Corinthians 16:2; Proverbs 3:9)
- praying earnestly for the health and growth of the members of Christ Covenant Church, (1 Thessalonians 1:2; 5:17)
- living a God-centered life, (Matthew 22:37)
- bringing up such children as may be entrusted to my care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, (Ephesians 6:18)
- following the leadership of the church and submitting to principles of church restoration (Hebrews 13:7, 17; Matthew 18:15-20)
- and seeking honest and open communication with the leadership when I have concerns. (Ephesians 4:15, 29-31)
Loving God's people by:
- being slow to take offense and quick to forgive and seek forgiveness, (James 1:19)
- exercising Christian care and watchfulness over others,
- refusing to participate in gossip, (Romans 15:19)
- serving the ministry of the church by discovering my gifts and talents, (1 Peter 4:10-11)
- developing a servant's heart, (Philippians 2:3-4)
- and loving and praying for all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians)
Loving God's world by:
- inviting the unchurched to attend and warmly welcoming those who visit, (Luke 14:23)
- walking circumspectly in the world so that I may provide things honest before all men, (Colossians 1:10)
- and endeavoring, by example through words, service and prayer, to proclaim to others that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. (Matthew 28:9-20)
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