The power of forgiveness


You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Bible NIV Matthew 5:38, 39)

The above are the words Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. It is the most famous sermon that Jesus spoke. Here is the Christian ethics.

“Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is a quote from the Old Testament. It is written like this. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise (Exodus 21:24, 25). At first glance, this may seem like emotional revenge, and it may seem barbaric. However, in reality, this is to control revenge without escalating it (this is called the “retribution law” in Israeli law). This is because when one eye is closed, one wants to close not only one eye but also both eyes. Also, if you break one tooth, you usually want to break all the teeth. In some cases, you might even want to kill them. This is human nature. In other words, it is a natural nature. So this is a law that prevents victims from retaliating against perpetrators with too much hatred. Such “retribution law” is also found in the Code of Hammurabi, and it seems that it was not unusual in the ancient Middle East. Other than the Old Testament, the punishment was different depending on the social class of the perpetrator, but in the Old Testament, even if the perpetrator was a Gentile , a fair trial was made. This is noteworthy.

I have watched “Tario’s two acting revenge agents” currently being broadcast on NHK, and I can tell that people have a revenge spirit. Even in the blockbuster drama “Hanzawa Naoki” (written by Jun Ikeido), the protagonist uttered the words “repeat if done” and “double back”, and I think many people sympathized with it. I am one of the people I sympathize with. That was reflected in the high audience rating. But Jesus encourages us to have different ethics. It’s very difficult to do, but ….

If you think step by step, the next step in the eye for an eye law would be to close one eye, for example, if you close both eyes. This is a 1/2 return, not a double return, which will be repeated a little if done. Once this is possible, the next step is to make no revenge. In other words, it doesn’t deal with the bad guys. And at the end, when the right cheek is struck, the left cheek is also turned, which is a high ethics taught by Jesus. This is easy to say, but very difficult to do and seems impossible. However, it was Jesus Christ who did this more than anyone else and set an example. Jesus hung on the cross.

The Christian church has followed that example. It is true that the church has historically made mistakes, but generally speaking, it has been a great blessing to the world from ancient times to the present. We have taken the lead in creating a better world by abolishing slavery, helping the poor, teaching schools, establishing hospitals and much more. Mother Teresa is one of them. She set the example for Jesus more than anyone else.

This is what the Bible says to the Romans at 12:21 (Paul’s words). Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. The Gospel of Luke also records the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus taught. In the parallel passages of Matthew 5:38, 39, it is written like this. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6: 27, 28)

I think the teachings of Jesus include the desire for us humans to be happy. Because hatred is more than anything else that afflicts oneself. If you are bound by hatred, you will not be able to move your life forward. Of course, there is no doubt that a considerable amount of judgment is required for those who have sinned. Don’t deal with evil doesn’t mean we don’t need police, trials, or the law, and it doesn’t forbid our family from being bad guys. Extreme interpretation causes problems. Historically, the literary master Tolstoy (the novel is wonderful) and the non-resistors have created the wrong pacifism by extracting and interpreting Jesus’ teachings only in that part.

This is because the Bible should be read in context, not by taking a passage and interpreting it by itself. This is a matter of heart. It should only be applied to yourself. Don’t try to apply it to others. Jesus teaches us that the real victory is to overcome evil with good. This is the power of forgiveness. This forgiveness gives us freedom and liberation. And we will be able to move forward in our life.

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NIV, Holy Bible, Larger Print, Paperback B-NI-ZON LAKESIDE [ Zondervan ]
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Tario Revenge Acting Two , Naoki Hanzawa , Bible

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埼玉県で10年間&北海道で10年間牧師の働きをしました。現在は神奈川県の教会で協力牧師をしています。私自身が様々なことば(特に聖書のことば)で力づけられてきたので、希望に満ちたことばをお伝えしたいと願っています。I used to be a pastor in Saitama prefecture for 10 years and Hokkaido for 10 years. Now I am a cooperating pastor in Kanagawa prefecture. I myself have been empowered by various words(especially Bible ), so I would like to tell the hopeful words.