Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jesus on Retaliation and Rights

Matthew 5:38-42
We are all about our rights. If anyone threatens our rights or takes what we think belongs to us, we are inclined to retaliate.  All of us have been wronged, and all of us have wanted to get back at the one responsible.  Has that attitude really helped us?  Is there a better way?
The real question we must answer is “How do you respond to being wronged?”
These verses teach that a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ has a different attitude about rights under the Lordship of Christ.
I. The Interpretation of the Lex TalionesMatthew 5:38
The basic function of law is not revenge but consequence and retribution.
Lex Taliones limits the level of revenge to equal to loss or injury. The purpose was to provide mercy.
II. Jesus’ Interpretation of the Believer’s Rights 
A. Don’t retaliate for insult - Matthew 5:39
The slap on the right cheek is a blow of contempt.
It is the second blow that makes the quarrel.
Don’t try to press the picture beyond its intended purpose.  Jesus says accept an insult, not become a doormat.
Jesus has told us to walk in peace but bring a sword.  Luke 22:36
The right to my reputation belongs to God.  Psalms 37:5-6
Dealing with the Emotions of Being Offended
When we deny our hate we detour around the crisis of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an action taken to stop one relationship from controlling your life.
B. Don’t go to court over clothes - Matthew 5:40
C. Serve with a smile - Matthew 5:41
Christ is advocating setting boundaries.
D. Yielding your right to money - Matthew 5:42
Few real needs are met in a single contribution.  A commitment to meet a need requires a spirit of giving, not just an act.
III. Cross-Bearing” Living  Philippians 2:3-8 
It is not always best or wise to exercise all of the personal rights to which we are entitled by law.

It is never sufficient to do only that which is required of us.

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