38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 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.
Can you hear me now? It makes me really nervous. Cause I did just flip the switch. So I wonder what else you heard when I thought the switch was off. Uh, grateful for representing the freedom and, uh, some of the beautiful things of July 4th. I want to mention some of the other things that we’ve done with our freedom, that would be a little less, uh, noble.
Um, here are some dangerous things that used to be legal, dangerous things in our country that used to be. And we’ll go right into our passage this morning. Go ahead and flip one up this. Okay. Any of you ever written in the back of a pickup, anybody ever fallen out of the back of a pickup? Okay. That makes a lot of sense sound guy.
Yup. Nothing’s ever right with the sound guy. Anybody ever knocked somebody out of the back of the pickup? Shelly Bicking. I did 17 years. Right out the back. Okay. Um, this used to be illegal thing. Now this wizard of Oz used to be legal. That’s a problem in and of itself, but the snow, you might not know.
This was toxic. 100% toxic ex Bestos that was used in this scene as with asbestos, for many different things that we, they used it in stage props. So that scarecrow was a little funny, for many reasons, other things that used to be legal. Okay. You can sort of see this. This is an actual photo of a mail carrier carrying mail.
That mail is a child. In 1913 in Ohio, they had there’s many different things you could send in the mail and someone decided I’m going to send my baby to the grandparents’ house. And for 15 cents of stamps in 1913, a child was sent in the mail to the grandparents’ house. Now, some of you who have one child, you’re absolutely horrified.
If you’re up to like child four or five, you’re like, oh 15 cents. Okay. Existed from 1913 to 1916, the longest distance a child was ever carried by mail was 720 miles. Another thing that used to be legal. These were called baby cages and early and right around the late 18 hundreds. Some doctor smarty pants said that babies need to be in, use this word aired out.
They need to be exposed. And so in New York city, they were having trouble figuring out how could you air out babies when they need to be inside so much, these were built into high rises. You could purchase them and put these in high rises. Eleanor Roosevelt did this with their child. Anna, these baby cages were put out of high rises and you would sit the baby in there to air the baby.
It’s amazing. Some of y’all lived. Yeah. Have made me remember this thing. Yes. Now this is a merry-go-round and I know some of you are like, man, I used to love that thing. Some you sicko parents are like men. Did I spin the heck out of my kids? Right? These became illegal. Not that many years ago because of many lawsuits, primarily in New Jersey go figure.
And then lastly, cocaine to thank drops, instantaneous cure, go figure, right? Selling cocaine and various places, dangerous things that used to be legal. We come this morning into Matthew chapter five. Matthew chapter five is we’ve been talking about the longest sermon. Jesus gives, goes through the beatitudes, talking about the values of the kingdom of God.
And then after the beatitudes transitions to these life statements about practical living in the kingdom of God, and we have walked through the different segments of practical life, of what life looks like under the governorship under the king ship, under the benevolent reign of Jesus. And today we come to a passage about retaliation.
How does retaliation and the kingdom of God operate? And this is in verse 38, this, as we read it, I want us to really recognize these are not idealistic words that Jesus spoke. They are extreme. They are significant. They are dangerous. And I’ll share why I believe they are in just a minute. Verse 38 to 42.
Jesus says this, you’ve heard that it was said, and I for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, don’t resist the one who is evil. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him, the other also, and if anyone would Sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles, give to the one who begs from you and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Lord, we give you our time morning. We thank you for the place and space and time to do so. Can we pray for understanding to treat your words seriously and Jesus’ name. Amen. I want to speak of the danger of this passage. Number one, this passage is dangerous because what Jesus is asking of his followers is significant.
The kingdom calling is not a small one. These principles of the kingdom, how we live together, it’s with people, it’s with mess it’s with pain. It’s with being hurt by one another. And that’s specifically what is talking about how we are called to operate when we are hurt and mistreated by one another.
This calling takes a tremendous amount of holy spirit strength, strength to quiet our vindictive responses. And strength to love when it’s really hard. And we see in the passage that love includes my body, my stuff, my time, my energy and my wealth. Larry crab offers a quote that has meant much to me in my own journey with Christ.
He said, this simply you can live to be comfortable, or you can live to know God, not many people, people who followed this. Jesus who heard these words for the first time would end up losing their very lives. This significance of this calling is tremendous. Secondly, the danger of this passage is because Christ is offering a threat to our felt sense of comfort, comfort that’s first.
Secondly, is that oppressor. And abusers can use this passage to destroy people. What does it mean to turn the other cheek for a nine-year-old that’s getting physically beaten by one of his parents. What does it mean when someone is being harassed or discriminated against in the workplace and the here, this passage, what does it mean to give to the person who asked you and don’t turn away from the ones who wants to borrow you when a friend or a relative is draining your finances dry because of their life choices.
What does it mean? When a spouse continues to lie, manipulate and take advantage of the other spouse financially, sexually, emotionally, and oppresses them with various types of aggression. Jesus, what does this mean? This passage, this passage. Has been used by many oppressors to demand forgiveness and manipulate people into accepting further mistreatment for hundreds of years.
What do we do with these words? These dangerous words of Christ. Simply as we enter, we need to recognize what do we do with danger of any type, what we quickly do when faced with anything that feels threatening. We rival against it. We rival against it. We want to fight it. We want to flee it. We want to rationalize it.
Let’s approach this sacred passage, not with trying to write around it, get away from it. But with compassion recognition, there’s a lot of trauma in this room. There’s a lot of trigger in this. Room. Some of that trigger is like own, what does God want of my stuff? As I look at this passage, some of it is what is this passage?
I mean, when I am being mistreated today, so let’s enter with compassion. As we recognize the significance of the text, look at the interpretation here of what Jesus is saying. First Jesus enters with this statement. You’ve heard that it said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say onto you, what he’s referring back to.
And then he goes on to give some situations of what he is saying, but he’s referring back to what it means. An eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. This is going back to a few different, three different, um, old Testament passages. Two of them for you, Exodus 2124 says if there is serious injury, You are to take life for life.
Eye for eye tooth for tooth hand, for hand, foot for foot burn for bam burn wound for wound bruise for bruise Exodus 2124 Leviticus 24 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the energy injury must suffer the same injury. Going back again to the mosaic law in these passages, in what Jesus referring to it’s, it’s obvious to see that these offenses can be severe.
Every person who has been hurt by someone else deeply knows that offenses have various types can be severe. We humans have incredible ability to hurt one another. Eyes and teeth is what Jesus pulls out to speak of this, taking something that cannot be replaced, something that would have caused tremendous pain to the individual to lose an eye or a tooth.
These offenses required punishment. These punishment should be of equal severity to the offense. This is retribution equivalency. Let the punishment fit the crime. Now these passages and these rule of law, this, this in the mosaic covenant was given litigiously. It was given to the judges. It was given for how the Jewish nation should operate legally.
However, the, the laws of the land and the punishment for the crime. However, this law became used as a principle for spiritual living. Retribution became a supported principle of how to treat one another. And Jesus is coming in light of this type of thinking this type of work and saying, this is not the way that my spiritual kingdom operates.
And these for images that are for situations that he will talk about confront the attitude of revenge or retribution and yeah, the situations I’m going to be honest as I’m looking through the situations, even as I was reading commentary, you want to dumb down what Jesus is saying. You want to dilute it so it can go down a little easier.
But what he is, the situations that he or he is using, they really are significant first Jesus says, what I say onto you is when someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to the other also. First situation, it’s significant that Jesus uses the right cheek. Okay. So, so using a slap would typically be given by the right hand in lots of different cultures throughout history.
And definitely in this culture, the left hand was used for some things that are not, you didn’t use your left hand for a lot of other things. So with the right hand to slap on the right cheek would actually be a backhand slap. This backhanded slap was one of insult or ins or subordination. It was a get in line.
Do what I say I am higher than you type of slap across the cheek. What is, and the calling then was not to just retaliate with a similar her response. Jesus is saying that there is no such thing as revenge in the kingdom of God. Look through the texts. We’ve just looked at Jesus talks about anger. Is there a place for anger in the kingdom of God?
Yes, there is. There’s not an outlawing of anger. There can be sexuality. Right? We talked about loss. Is there a place for sexuality in the kingdom of God based upon our texts? Yes. Is there a place for divorce a couple passages ago? Yes. There are biblical allowances for divorce. It is going through different operations of the kingdom of God and saying, and saying how we should do certain things.
When it comes to revenge, there is not an allowance. There’s not room for revenge in the kingdom of God, any activity or action by a made by a heart of GYN, even showing them there’s wanting them to pay for their simply is not from. The heart of Christ. Dallas Willard says the reason why we withhold good from someone, the grounds of this will never be personal retaliation.
And there were never, as I live be room in the kingdom of God forgetting even Mike Tyson, big time, theologian says everyone has a plan until you’re what till you’re punched in the face. Peter says when you are, when you absorb a blow, this is the ethic of the church. First, Peter three nine, do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult on the contrary, repay evil with blessing.
Second thing that Jesus talks about says if you Sue, if you are sued, right, this is, this is suing of possessions. If you’re in a lawsuit and someone takes your cloak, give him your church, someone takes your tunic, give him your cloak as well. The mechanics of this is that’s all you got, you got sandals, some headgear and a cloak and tunic.
If someone typically someone would have one tunic that goes over the coat or cloak this week, I found myself again, trying to head, what does this exactly mean? This is meaning most literally Jesus is saying and use whatever possession you have for the sake of the kingdom of God, often case your clear your outer tunic was used as your bedding.
It was your pillow that you slept on. It was what kept you warm to take away these two garments. If you did not have garments to replace them, you would have nothing less left, but foot and head gear. It is to say it is the first we look at attorney of the cheek. It is our body. Now Jesus turns to our possessions what that our possessions matter less than our message.
So that if my position by the giving up of my possessions demonstrates to this person or who is suing me a greater message of my Christ, that matters more than my stuff. Our dignity ladders matters less than our message. This is what Christ did when he was stripped of cloak and tunic and laid naked on the cross.
Why? Because Christ’s love was more important than his possession or his dignity all was given for the sake of the rattle radical calling of living love for another Craig keener talks on this part. He says nothing. Anyone takes from us matters in the end. Anyway, we must love our enemies and seek to turn them into friends.
Number three, the asking two says if one asks you to go one mile, go with him two miles and enrollment culture. A Roman soldier could ask you to go. War could tell you, you must go with me one mile on carry my stuff. Carry carry my, my bedding, my armor, my equipment, and, and he could enlist anyone that he wanted to carry the, the, his stuff for him of distance up to one mile Jesus in this, can you, man, I mean, can you imagine the inconvenience of what this would be?
It’s not like people were just sitting there waiting in line. What are you doing, man? I’m just, I’m looking for the next Roman soldier because I wouldn’t get my mile in today. Right. I got my steps to get, and I want some good equipment to carry. No people have their own day. They have their own stuff.
They’re carrying their own things. They’re doing their own work. They’re spending time with their own family. But at any time a Roman soldier could tap you on the shoulder and say, Hey, you go with me one mile, which we all know means, carry stuff one mile and then walk one mile back. Jesus is saying how about two miles, two miles back.
Instead of going with him one mile, go with him two miles.
Instead of being begrudgingly obedient citizen who obeys out of fear, live a life of love and go further. Number four. So that’s, , I’m sorry. Number three. The request is for your time and your energy, you see what Jesus is doing here. He says your very body. Number one, your, your, your very stuff, your possessions, number two, number three, your time and your energy.
And lastly, Jesus comes to this fourth request. If anyone asks of you, give them if anyone desires to borrow from you, respond with benevolence. John who watched Jesus operate says this in first, John three 17 says if anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need, but has no pity on them.
How can the love of God be in that person? This is the calling that God himself lives later in this chapter. There’s a very similar phrasing to this. Give to the one who asks you don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. It’s in it’s when Jesus is talking about the father, he says, ask, and it will be given to you seek and you shall find and talks about how the father does not hold good.
This is not convenient generosity. This is not if I can comfortably afford them. These are radical things. These are things that if we’re completely honest, we don’t really want Jesus to say, and I know there are phrases I’m even using that. Some of you’re like too far. And I understand, and maybe some of my phrases aren’t clear enough, but Jesus has our, what Jesus is saying here is significant.
And we can’t for the sake of comfort, pretend he’s not saying it they’re radical things to do in response to mistreatment harm or severe inconvenience. How do we do this? Cause this is not just theory. This is everyday life that you and I face. These types of situations. I’ve wrestled with that this week, we got a very rickety gate here and we’ve got a very sturdy door.
I built that one. Thank you, Tim. Um, I want it talk practically about when we come up against difficult situations, how do we, how do we handle them? How do we deal with the fact that we have limited time, money, resources? How do we handle this passage? And, and these, this is not to be clever. It’s to be clear, three things I want to say to advocate for, for us to be a door, not a swinging gate, be a door, not a swinging gate.
First thing I want to mention about a door when it comes to this situation, is that a door opens from the inside, right? A good door. Right, right. A good door opens from the inside. It’s important. It’s important. A door doesn’t get knocked in by whoever wants to at whatever time the power in a good door is not that it, it can be accessed at any time by anyone from the outside.
The importance is that it is up to the one inside the one inside has. And this word, I mean in a really good way, power a swinging gate is different. A swinging gate, whoever pushes or pulls on it, they have the power to determine who gets in and good get out. It is the decision of the one being harmed of the one who has experienced some type of personal injury.
It is their choice. How to respond. The power is not in the hand of those asking or those harming. It is in the control of the person being harmed. This passage is not given to people of how to break down doors. This passage is given to people who have the strength and the power to respond. Jesus is not saying, give this choice to someone else.
He is not saying surrender your power to someone else’s choices. He is saying with your power, choose love. But that door opens from the inside. It is the choice of the person. The swinging gate has no strength to decide what gets. In what gets out, ultimately it just has to receive whatever comes its way.
It’s too hard to say, no, there’s not enough resistance there to block anything out. If you push hard enough, you will get in to a swinging gate. A dear friend of mine, a person I love said this to me one time. She said, Hey, Ben, you know why we make you feel guilty? Guilt is a thing I’m good at guilt. Right?
I feel like guilty really easily sometimes. So I wanted to know why do people make me feel guilty? You know, she said, she said, we make you feel guilty because we can. And I thought people are like that, right? Because what she’s saying is when we make you feel guilty, we take your power. You’re not deciding what is love, what is good?
What, what should be done when you’re guilty, you’re weak. And this has happened in some of you understand this when I can make you afraid. When I can make you feel guilty, I can come in and out, ask of whatever I want and you will do it. Another person that church person was saying, man, what I like a bit, Ben is he’ll just say yes to everything.
And I’m like, watch, you can say that out loud. You can say you like that. No. Why? Because, because you know what? I can just do whatever I want. It was a long time ago. They said that by the way, but I’m much healthier, right? But a swinging gate just accepts. Whatever comes its way. And it’s not seen by the person as man, that person really loves me is not seen as love.
It’s seen as opportunity. It’s very important to know the door opens from the inside because power is an important thing to maintain. When oppressed an abuser tries to remove power from you. That is not the calling text. There is also a wisdom. There was a wisdom to know when to open the door and when not to open the door, even in the passage, someone strikes you on the right cheek, give them the, the other.
Also Jesus did not always practice that Jesus in fact, was struck on the right cheek. He did not turn the other also on the night when he was betrayed, Paul himself was struck. Physically did not turn the other cheek, but stood up for himself. Neither of them retaliated in anger. But this situation, there is a situational understanding here of when to yield PA when to give of self.
And when not to number three, I’m sorry, in this understanding power, understanding wisdom and understanding love this gate looks real noble and said, wow, wow. Look at all the people going in and out of there, all the stuff they want to move. Yeah. I’ll go help you move. You want to do nursery? Oh yeah. I can do nursery.
Right? There’s this sense of I’ll do whatever you need me to do. It’s like, man, you want to get something done? Get somebody who’s a swinging gate. Cause they’re a yes machine. Right. And it can feel like maybe that’s love. Calvin has a great quote, John Calvin, a great quote on this. He calls the mischief maker as the one who pounds the door or tries to get through the gate.
And he speaks of how it’s not always love for the mischief maker to be allowed to do or get whatever they want. It is not the strength of love to let someone be in a continual oppressor. The greatest act to many mischief makers is to say, no, the door is not open for you. Right. Why because it’s the greatest act of love.
And for many can be the very beginning of their salvation. Second thing door opens from the inside second thing. And from that. Adore has the ability to protect, whereas a swinging gate can prevent no harm. Th th the adore can, if you think of a door of a house, it prevents danger. Part of the function is that it’s a door, not a doorway.
If you try to get in on a door part of its function, is it protects those inside from those on the outside, there are situations where it is dangerous, and that word is important where the people trying to come in are a significant threat to the individual on the inside the door has the ability to protect a swinging gate, literally goes open and shut for anyone at any time with any request, without regard to who lives on the inside.
It can prevent harm also adore protecting. There’s a matter of development here. You don’t ask a seven-year-old to apply this passage. You don’t in the same way you ask someone who’s known Christ for a long time, you got a seven year old is getting pounded at your school. You don’t sit there and say, listen, Johnny, we don’t really know if you believe in Jesus or not, but here’s what you do.
You sit there and you take it over and over and over. That’s the calling. That’s not the calling for a seven-year-old. It’s not, there is a developmental process. I believe this, the Peter talks about the spiritual development Jesus in John 16, 12 talks about the spiritual development of when we are even able to hear certain truths.
Calling of responding with over the top love and gratitude. When O pressed is a, a, there is some matter of spiritual and emotional development, you need to have something to give something also matters of limitation. Jesus did not say yes to every situation. Jesus protected his earthly body and situations.
At times this morning, I walked in and noticed the books that we have on our resource show. The ruthless elimination of hurry. This is a great book seeking rest. This is by our own Joanne and Sarah wrote this wonderful devotional rest missionaries that we support Sean and Harold ever saw. Dear people wrote a book called rest Dane Orland.
So a wonderful book about the character of our Jesus gentle and lowly. You can’t live this stuff out. If you say yes to everything, if you say yes to everything, you’re not going to rest. You can’t eliminate hurry. You don’t have the disposition left to be gentle and lowly and receiving a door must operate with some protection.
And, and what I will say for, for those of us who struggle with, um, swinging gate NUS and CR we have a healthy word called codependency for this, where we can just allow really any need or any situation to kind of take us in. It’s not just terrible bullies that go in and out of swinging gates. That’s important to know.
It’s not just how awful people are that they come in and out sometimes it’s just because we don’t have the door type strength to say no, even to good things. Within the first couple years of being a pastor here, I was burning out for probably 18 months. And the responsibilities I had were, were, they were bigger than me and they were bigger than I was called to have with Christ.
And I kept pushing and I literally would daydream about one of the other pastors. Coming up and saying, I’m making this choice for you. You’re doing too much. You got a young family. You’re burning out. You’re done in this ministry. So you can focus on this ministry. I would daydream about it, but I wouldn’t do anything myself.
I just let opportunities and ministries. And can you do this? Come in and out? Does that mean people were bad? How dare they ask me if something no knocking is never bad. Requesting is not bad. It was the, I did not have the strength to give good people any type of, no, I can’t do that. The swinging gate cannot blame other people pull that go in and out all the time.
A swinging gate must recognize it needs more strength to protect. It is on those of us who struggle with this to stand up. It is what makes us grow in our faith. Awesome. Awful often, lastly, a swinging door welcomes. This is the very point of entry into a home. The very place where we welcome mothers and a swinging gate has nothing left to give.
Everything has been taken. If all we ever do is take blow after blow. If all you do is walk mile after mile, you’ll have nothing left to give. If we just experienced mistreatment, people will eventually not even being, knowing they’re being bad. We’ll take all of our resources from us. I know there are many in this room and many online that know this truth deeply.
You cannot tend to others. Well, after you have been beaten and walked into the ground and some of you are like, Jess, DOR Christianity, keep it tough, buddy. I saw there’s this tough guy, pastors talking about his church. Who’s no longer there, but he’s really mad at him this last week. And he called this church a bunch of something like even jelly Coles, first off, I’m like, that’s kind of clever, right?
But just like a bunch of softies, Christians just let themselves walk over, right? Yes. Can’t be a swinging gate. Got to protect so many sissy Christians out there. People have to learn to stand up for themselves. Right. I understand some of you have that tough energy, but this is not primarily. What the passage is about.
I mean, I’m sorry, this is, this is what the PA the, the primary purpose of the passage is not how to shut your door and hold it. This is what I want to say. The primary disposition of our lives it’s meant to have an open door. Yes. The ability to close, we can’t do everything. Yes. The power retains in our decisions and what, and when to give.
But this calling here that Jesus is saying it’s not small
as dearly loved children. Paul writes walk in the way of love. I don’t believe this. This is meant to be a checklist passage. I don’t believe it’s meant to be a, this one thing happened. So what’s the direct response. It’s meant to be a principle of how the disposition of our life operates. We operate in absorbing a lot of things that happen wrong to us.
We operate in forgiveness and we operate in hosting others in generosity. And some of the people we will host, they’re going to hurt us. And that’s, that really is rough, but it really is. At times are calling the normal state of those who know that they’re deeply loved by the father. Is to respond with open doors, not defensive, not suspicious, not gaining a single ounce of energy by rallying against those.
They feel like are their enemies. We absorb some blows from one another. We’re ready to offer help to one another, the resources of forgiveness and positive regard flow freely here, doors that can close. Yes. When it’s wise and loving to do so. But the natural disposition of our souls is that our doors are open and available to host the needs of others.
We operate in trust, forgiveness, and generosity because we learn this from our king, who knows what fear is. He knows what sin is. He knows what relational and physical and spiritual trauma. And still he opened his arms to receive and give love. You see, it’s this gospel of Jesus, this open door gospel Jesus that opens and has room for a weary and cynical and burnout resource deprived to world.
If the community of Christ is a neighborhood of closed doors, why would anyone want to move in our very testimony of Christ? Our very calling when being wrong is to say there is room for you here, room for you to make mistakes for you to hurt and be hurt. We here can absorb and even hosts. The messiness of life to that great end.
We’re willing to give of our own stuff, our own body, our own time, our own wealth. First Corinthians 13 is probably the most famous passage in the new Testament. Matt Smith Hirst writes about this passage and says this in order to embody the majority of the descriptions of love. In first Corinthians 13, someone has to hurt you first.
I’m going to conclude with this beautiful passage, and then we will be dismissed if I speak can the tongues of men and angel, but do not have love. I’m a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. If I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge. If I have all faith. So as to remove mountains, but have not love, I’m nothing.
If I give away all I have, if I turn my body to be over to body, to be burned, my gosh, there’s so much swinging gate here, but have not love. I gain nothing. Love is patient and it’s kind love. Doesn’t envy or boast. It’s not arrogant. It’s not rude. Does not insist on its own way. It’s not irritable or resentful.
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love, bears. All things believes, all things, hopes, all things endures. All things love is an open door. We are dismissed.