In Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, He sat on a mountainside in Galilee and taught those who were eager to know about the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught how the person who is in a right relationship with God would conduct himself. Before Jesus came, the only guidance the people received was from the Pharisees. They were religious men who, although they had good intentions and obeyed the law, had lost sight of the spirit of the law. They had lost sight of what God wanted for His people.
Jesus never contradicted the law, but often, He put a new slant on it. He surprised many people with His teachings. One of the curious things He said was; “You have heard about ‘An eye for an eye” but I’m telling you to not resist an evil person. If someone hits you on the right cheek, turn the other cheek to him. If he wants to sue you and take your clothes, give him your coat too. If he forces you to go one mile with him, go an extra mile. “
The words “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” come from an Old Testament law that was designed to protect the innocent and to make sure that retaliation didn’t go beyond the original offense. Jesus says that the Christian doesn’t necessarily need to claim his rights. He does not strike back even if he has the right. If someone wants to take something from him, he gives them more. He ‘goes the extra mile.”
This is the way Jesus lived. When He was persecuted, He accepted it, not because He was weak but because He was strong. He was God. He could have called legions of angels to defend Him. If He wanted, I’m sure He could have exhibited super-human strength in fighting back, but out of His strength, He chose to submit.
We have similar laws now, to protect the innocent from outlaws and to make sure that punishment for is just and equal to the offense. As Christians, there are times when we can choose not to demand our rights. Being strong in Christ means that we can display humility and grace. When we are wronged, do we glorify Jesus more by retaliation – by striking back, shouting, demanding our rights, or by demanding repayment? Or do we glorify Him by showing the love and forgiveness of Christ?
Out of our strength – the security that we have in Jesus Christ and knowing that our future is in the Kingdom – we can choose our actions and our reactions.
Find the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible in the book of Matthew, chapters 5,6, and 7.