Eye for Eye

Due to my underlying suspicion of the people’s motives (and other smokescreens I use to justify my general avoidance of anything requiring discipline), I’ve always steered away from memorizing scripture. However, in a recent lapse into militant mode, I decided to join a few friends at 7:00AM once a week to memorize entire chapters of the Bible. The boys and I are currently two weeks away from finishing the fifth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, and questions are unsurprisingly simmering up in the kettle.

For instance, is it consistent with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount to infer “life for life” in the “eye for eye – tooth for tooth” section? If so, am I willing to stand against capital punishment? Another question relates to litigation. Is it simply wrong to sue anyone? If so, what do you do if you’re a Christian attorney faced with such a case? Or for that matter, what does Jesus mean when he says, “Do not resist and evil person”? This statement seems much more far-reaching than the courtroom. Another question relates to taking oaths. In today’s world, does this mean that it is immoral to sign a legally binding contract? If so… wow. Or why is it that people who claim to be Christian divorce as frequently as those who don’t? Lastly, related to the specifics above is the larger question – to what extent have I rationalized the teachings of Jesus so that I might be more comfortable?

Enough for now. Next week, we’re supposed to memorize the section on loving our enemies. Joy…

One response to “Eye for Eye”

  1. Your questions remind me just how powerful the Sermon on the Mount may be. It revolutionized Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life and work, inspired Clarence Jordan to battle racism, and I am sure has impacted others. Sripped down, we must seem pretty weak and scared to draw back from such radical applications. What would the church look like if it didn’t?