Matthew 5:38-42

During the season of Lent our devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s writer is Beth Bruce.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42

To read these verses without a bit of context, would have most people thinking that in today’s world, that Christians are doormats, fools, or just naïve. It is not natural for us to allow others to take advantage. We can’t take care of everyone and we are not perfect like Jesus.

To put this in context with the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, will help us figure out what to do with this today.

Jesus set the stage earlier in Matthew chapter five with the Beatitudes. Here, Jesus reminds us of our vertical relationship with God, in which his perfect love is with us forever.

In our “horizontal” worldly lives, this same example of love without limits gives us a glimpse of the way he is asking us to live. We are to serve or neighbor without limits, because we are blessed with God’s grace and love.

Jesus meant what he said. These words are binding, even for us, but we know that in understanding the intent of God’s law, we can translate this into ways to live today.

For example, Jesus is not suggesting that we teach our kids to let them be bullied. He is suggesting is that we teach our kids not to bully, and more importantly to help others who are suffering at the hands of bullies. Jesus is not trying to prevent us from defending or protecting ourselves!

He gives us these words after having already re-assured us that we are blessed and Christ has come to fulfill this law in our place. On the cross, Christ becomes the ultimate doormat, and does not keep score. Jesus shows us we are free to love without limits in our daily lives as we are blessed with his grace.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, today, please help us to ignore insults, to not seek revenge, to forgive and forget. Remind us always to pray for sinners, pray for our enemies, and to love others without limits. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Matthew 5:38-42”

  1. Carolee Says:

    “Turn the other cheek” is a command from Jesus that is not always easy to keep. In fact if it were not for the grace of Jesus becoming our Savior, we would always fail miserably. But when we “stand up for Jesus” and show love to our neighbor we are following His command.
    “30. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

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