An Eye for an Eye – Then and Now

The Rev. Howard Bess, in this article, talks about forgetting about retribution and revenge. And argues that what Jesus preached at the end of the Sermon on the Mount was going completely against the grain of what anyone—including God—practiced or believed at the time (or now). Here’s what Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” — Matthew 5:38-39

Jesus believed in forgiveness, not in sin as a debt to be repaid. Bess titles his article, “How Christianity Lost Jesus” and feels that the western world in this century has embraced “an eye for an eye” in utter rejection of what Christ taught. How did it happen? Read the article and see his description of how Paul’s theology trumped Jesus’ teachings. Bess closes with:

“There is no evidence that the practice of ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ ever produced an honorable result, made people more whole with lives that are more satisfying, or produced a society that is good for all.”

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