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Matthew 5:38-42

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. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

This is a tough teaching for anyone to receive – especially for us in an individualist consumer-driven society.  

The passage seems to first focus on crime and punishment. Jesus warns against inappropriate retaliation to an insult, although if we apply wisdom found elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus’ words don’t prohibit self-defence or fleeing from evil. Indeed, the loving thing to do for an attacker might be to take steps to prevent them from hurting anyone else.  

The passage then turns to look at giving. Again, if we consider other parts of the Bible, while Jesus is keen for us to give wisely in ways that help the truly needy, the Bible also teaches we shouldn’t give foolishly, to a lazy person not in need, or where our giving would result in more harm than benefit.  

Together, let’s seek to act in a Christlike way to those around us so that God’s kingdom grows. 

A song to consider -Redemption Day  

Oliver Meehan

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