An Eye for an Eye

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Forgiveness, Spiritual Growth | 0 comments

An Eye for an Eye

The desire to punish people who unjustly hurt or offend us seems very natural and reasonable to us. You hurt me; I must hurt you back.

The Bible refers to this as the “eye for an eye” method.

“If man injures his neighbor … so it shall be done to him: … eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him ….” (Leviticus 24:19-20)

It is part of our intrinsic nature to require retribution for the wrongs we suffer. This natural response is rooted in the inherent legality of God’s created universe.

Legality of God’s universe

The legality of God’s universe demands nothing less than justice. God has bound himself to keep His principles of divine jurisprudence. He is a just God. He simply will not violate His legal principles, because they are “part of His creation and a direct expression of His divine nature.” This is what makes God trustworthy. He cannot be manipulated or coerced, like our parents. His hand moves in direct relationship to His divine laws.

God’s moral and spiritual laws are alive and active in the universe—even if we do not know them. If we honor them, consciously or unconsciously, they will work to maintain harmony in our lives, restore health and wholeness in us, and release God’s blessings to us.

1. The law of justice

The law of justice says that all wrongs must be resolved. When someone is wronged by another, an account is opened, a debt created. The law of justice requires the person who committed the wrong be held accountable and made to pay down the debt.

The wronged person instinctively thinks, “I am in pain. Somebody caused this. I must make them pay for my pain so I can find peace again.” They open up an account for the person who hurt them, begin keeping a record of their wrongs, and look for ways to make them pay for what they did.

2. The law of judgment

The law of judgment says that the measure we mete out, we will receive back. In other words, we will receive harm in the same areas of life in which we have given out judgment against others. What we receive back in life is directly related to what we have given out. The law of judgment is inescapable. We are dooming ourselves in the same way that we are judging others.

  • Do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon and you will be pardoned (Luke 6:37).
  • He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it (James 4:11-12).
3. The law of sowing and reaping

The law of sowing and reaping says we will surely reap what we have sown. When we judge others, we are sowing a seed which by law someday has to be reaped. Whatever we plant always comes up, even though it can stay underground for many years.

  • For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:1-2).
  • Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).

The judgmental seed we sow reaps a greater and greater harvest over time, until we confess and repent of it: “We sow a spark and reap a forest fire.” John & Paul Sandford suggest the law of sowing and reaping was meant by God to be a blessing to humanity—not a curse.

A better way

God cannot lie. His laws are absolute. Therefore every sin demands resolution so that the scales of justice can be balanced. Thank God we don’t have to resort to the “eye for an eye” method. In the Old Testament God promised to give us a far better way—through faith in Christ Jesus:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; …  And this is the name by which He will be called, The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

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