TURN THE OTHER CHEEK
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But 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.
40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.’ ”
This is one of the golden rules of Christianity.
Until then, all religious books in Mesopotamia, invocated the execution of justice, equal punishment or compensation for the offence committed, ‘eye of an eye, tooth for a tooth’.
This was also the rule in Babylon long before Moses received the commandments.
But this time, JESUS brings something else into play. A change of heart. A merciful and understanding heart for all humanity.
There was nothing wrong with the TALIONIS Law principle. It was a guarantee of justice for everyone, and our LORD GOD YHWH perpetuated this through the mosaic law. However, this stopped only in giving satisfaction or reparation to the offended party, but did not stop the problem. Crimes still were committed and resentfulness and desire of revenge continued in the hearts of men, until compensation according to ‘eye for an eye’ was executed.
Here JESUS gives humanity the solution to the problem of social evil. To STOP EVIL THROUGH LOVE AND PATIENCE IN GOD.
Jesus makes symbolic illustrations of how to perform in front of different problems we may encounter, If we are hit, sued or coerced, do not resist evil, meaning, do not seek revenge, but let it happen, and do not react in anger, knowing that GOD is watching and He will bring about Justice
(Romans 12:19; Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 32:35).
Our passive reaction will eventually make the offenders wonder about it, since it is not the natural human reaction, but eventually would bring into them an irresistible sense of guilt and eventual repentance, stopping forever a focus of evil in our world. Of course for those who are hard enough to refuse repentance, justice will come over them eventually, directly from GOD, through other means, but not through us, being our reaction held against them at the time of judgement.
JESUS taught the way of faithful patience in GOD, not an empty one. He did not command us let ourselves be abused, but to exercise faith in GOD who is watching everything from above. And of course, this does not include, as it is obvious in the text, to let our lives be taken, or to not protect the life of another. Only in material things, since the life of the offender is more valuable than anything material we could lose. But to protect our lives or the lives of others, we are allowed to.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”