Listening to every heart
Question: How come in one part of the Bible it says, "An eye for an eye," and then in other parts it talks about the importance of forgiving?
Answer: Great question. I think that the most important thing to understand on this subject is the difference between personal relationships and the legal justice.
In the area of legal justice we are talking about what the government's right and responsibility is in regards to those that break the law. Both the Old and New Testament specifically talk about the importance of justice. One of the basic foundations of justice is the "eye for an eye" principle. If you steal, you must repay. If you kill, you may be killed. While there are certainly variations of this, few would argue that it is a basic principle of justice. Someone who does wrong, should be punished by the authorities to the same degree...no more, no less.
However, there were some people, especially the Pharisees in the New Testament who wanted to apply that to their personal relationships as well. So Jesus comes to them in Matthew 5:38 and says, "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 cheek, turn to him the other also."
Jesus makes it clear that we are not to hold grudges and DEMAND justice for those that hurt us in a personal way, but rather we are to forgive, turn the other cheek, and with humility consider others better than ourselves.
So in the area of legal justice, an eye for an eye is a important and ongoing biblical principle that every culture practices, but in the area of personal relationships, Jesus tells us that this cannot be our attitude.
- Rob Rienow
excerpt from http://www.studentbodyworld.com/Q%20and%20A/The%20Bible/an_eye_for_an_eye.htm
It was a loaded question, Kristie. Not one that can be answered in a sentence of two, or three, remarks.
Everyone's feelings are going to be different. Are we at war? Haven't I been told to "kill the enemy"? Is this not murdering one of God's children? Won't that son's mother wish me dead, and wish there were a penalty of some sort to extract the breath from my body?
My private property, invaded? A murdering thief comes in to steal, and possibly kill me, or mine? And does? I would want justice to be as swift to that murdering scoundral as in the time it took him to take mine from me.
Vengence is mine, sayeth the Lord.
Right? Wrong? It's a personal decision gone amuck in the legal process. I know what I feel, and think, but it's not the answer for how many other people?
My opinion will stand that it will depend, always, on ALL of the facts, ALL of the time. Based on those facts, and by a group of peers, should a judgment be rendered.
Sorry. I've been in the legal profession WAY too long.