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Matthew 5:38-39 (NIV)
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 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.
Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)
Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus takes the laws of the day to the extreme to show how perfect and loving God is. One such law was an “eye for an eye”. It gave victims rights for restitution of stolen or destroyed property. Essentially, if you “total” my car you have to replace it! But Jesus gave up his rights and came into this world to “totally” pay what we owe, forgiving our debt. Is there someone in your life that you are holding a grudge against because they “owe” you something? Are you demanding your rights from someone? As followers of Jesus, we have been given the rights that belong to him, to the Kingdom and to forgive (Matt. 16:19)! What other rights do we need?!