“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Written by: Nathan Smith
My favorite comic strip of all time is Calvin and Hobbes. It’s one of those great pieces of entertainment that has jokes you get as a kid but then has a whole other layer of meaning that only understand when you read it later as an adult. There’s one strip where Calvin is complaining to his dad that he doesn’t get to stay up late like his parents do. He screams,“It’s not fair!” His dad just looks at him and says “The world’s not fair.” Calvin walks away with a frown on his face and says, “I know, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor.”
The reality is we often feel like Calvin. We learn from an early age the concept of playing fair, but as we get older we realize that our parents’ childhood idealism of playing fair doesn’t apply to the real world. If we’re not careful we can become intensely focused on the perceived unfairness and feel like everything is against us. Let’s be honest, the concept of fairness and the perceived lack of it is what America was built on, but that’s not Jesus’ plan for us. He turns the entire concept of fairness upside down.
Someone once said that “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”Jesus wants us to understand that retribution only leads to more retribution and a desperate never-ending cycle. All you have to do is look back at the Cold War and see that “mutually assured destruction” is not the plan God had for us way back at the beginning of creation. Obviously national political concerns are a little different from how we live our lives, but on a personal level God wants even more for us to experience grace and peace. Peace can never be achieved through fairness. True peace can only be achieved through grace. Until we learn to give and receive grace like Jesus does we will never have the peace that God desires for us.
Thought of the day: What issue of fairness are you holding onto that is keeping you from experiencing peace? How can you practice grace today by forgiving someone? God wants more peace for you and it can only come through giving and receiving more grace.
Prayer: God help me to let go of the things in my life that I feel are unfair. Give me the strength to help me forgive those I need to forgive. And help me to forgive myself for the things that I hold onto. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve Your love. I want the peace that You promise in Your Word for me and I know that only comes from grace. Thank You, amen.