Dr. Ed Young - Retaliate with Love
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When you and I do more than is expected or reasonably required for us to do, we're on God's team. Listen carefully, I want you to respond. When you and I, when we do more than we are expected or required to do, that means that we are on...? D+. Try it again. When you and I, everybody, do more than we are expected or required to do, this means that we're on? There you go. That's the bottom line of what we're looking at in these principles. Now, let's look at the Scripture Matthew chapter number 5. I'm going to read just a verse and a half, we're going to study five verses. Verse 38, "You have heard," Jesus is speaking, "it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person".
This is such an easy passage to outline, remember? Look at it, the first part of it, verse 30, "You have heard", Jesus, "You have heard," and now Jesus gives us here the cultural law of Moses, "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth". And you go all the way back to the code of Hammurabi. Do you remember your history? Babylonian king dating 1,000 years before Moses, you find the same principle, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. You find the same phrase listed three times in the Old Testament. Exodus chapter 21, Leviticus chapter 24, Deuteronomy chapter 19. And look how it says, look with me, Exodus, easy to find, Genesis, Exodus, second book. Genesis, Exodus chapter number 21, verse 24, look how he says it. "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise".
Pretty clear, isn't it? Pretty clear for all of us. And you read, if you would, Exodus chapter 22, 23, 24, Moses just spells out every kind of life situation you could almost imagine. What do you do here? How do you respond to this? This offense, this word, this light, this blow, this dagger, this knife, the relationship of the family, whether you're rich or poor, middle. He goes to great, great detail, but that's not enough. Later on, the Mishnah, the Talmud, they even explain everything when you lift your hand. I mean, they get way into the minutiae, keeping the law. The principle is, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth". Gandhi said, "If this were applied universally, everybody in the world would be blind and toothless". But it is still the basic standard of law in our world today. In the secular world, that stands today as it did 1,000 years before Moses, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth".
That's when you hear, "Let the punishment match the crime". So, why is this there? It's there as a preventative to prevent individuals from harming other individuals. It is also there to limit the amount of revenge that we can take because if you hit me and I reach and shoot you, hey, I've escalated things, have I not? And so, it limits the amount of revenge or amount of retribution that you can take, but all of us have in us the desire for a revenge, to get even. And we want more than get even. "Man, if you hurt me, I'm going to come and I..." That's how we're built, it starts way back.
Two little siblings are playing, older sister, younger brother. Older sister Anna, younger brother Henry, and all of a sudden there's a cry. The big sister's crying out, and the mother runs in and sees little Henry has a hunk of Anna's hair. He's pulling it, won't let go. She's crying, "Ahh"! She goes over there and pries off little Henry's hand and said to Anna, "He doesn't know how much that hurts you". The mother leaves the room. In a minute, she hears little Henry crying, "Ahh"! She walks in and Anna says, "Now he knows". Vengeance, vengeance. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, this is how our world operates. This is the basis upon which we have our laws today at this moment in time, built into history.
Now, this is what you've heard, this was the law in that day, but Jesus says, "But I say unto you," and here Jesus begins to give us little clear vignettes, little cameos, little stories in one sentence form of the basic principle they we're after. And the basic principle is you and I, when we do more than is expected or reasonably required for us to do, then we are on? C-. When you and I do more than we are expected or required to do, then we are on? That's it. Now, we see the counter-cultural response of Jesus to an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Look what he says in our Scripture. Go back to Matthew if you're lost in Exodus. Verse 39, "But I say to you," remember? "Do not resist an evil person". Well, Jesus says that we're not to resist an evil person.
Now, watch this. This is where people take the Bible, it becomes squirrel city. They take a part of a verse and they say, "Boy, we're not supposed to resist an evil person. Look at it, it says that right here". Ladies and gentlemen, learn how the basic principle interpretation, when you see something that's way over the top that seems totally illogical and irrational, Scripture proves and verifies other Scripture. Hello? And then you look at the context of that Scripture. And a lot of wise people have taken that little part of that 39th verse, "Do not resist an evil person," and they have gone to Mars with it. What does it mean? Do not resist an evil person. How does that operate?
Some people said, "Well, we don't need government, military, we can't have wars, we can't defend ourselves". It's because they haven't read the rest of the Bible. Romans 13 tells about how we respond to a government. 1 Peter 2, you have the privilege of a just war. We are to be protected, and therefore we are to be proactive. There is a framework for government. This is used in interpersonal, practical ways, and Jesus tells us exactly what this means. Now, before I get into reading these verses, you got to go back to the same thing I've already said twice, I'm going to say it once more. The Sermon of the Mount is not a rule of laws, it's a rule of principles. And we are to take these principles, broad that they are, and apply them in the broad application of life so we discover that when we do more than is expected or reasonably required for us to do, we will be on? That's it.
Now, let's see how Jesus relates this. First of all, he relates it in an interpersonal, in the realm of interpersonal relationships. Look at this how it's said, look at latter part of verse 39, "And whoever slaps you on your right cheek". That's an interpersonal relationship, isn't it? By the way, to be slapped on your right cheek, they have to be what, left handed? Or they have to backhand you. And a backhand was a slur, it was a slam, it was a putdown. Jesus says in interpersonal relationships, you're going to have situation, people are going to slap you maybe not physically, probably with verbiage. Man, they're going to slap us down. They're going to deal with us, they're going to slander us, they're going to tell the truth in order to hurt us, or make up things out of fantasy file, or make little partial truths and use them to abuse us. We are slapped.
So, he talks about, how do we handle when we are slapped? Interpersonal relationships. Look at the next verse, he talks about this in another very, very practical context. He says, "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt". This area of jurisprudence, it's the area of the courts. Somebody wants to sue you, they want to sue you and take your shirt off your back. What about that, how do we respond to that? Remembering that day the average person that may have had a couple of shirts, they had only one coat, somebody's going to sue, that's how they paid their bills. And the whole realm of jurisprudence, how do we respond in court when somebody's going to sue us? Whether they're right or whether, how do we respond in that situation? That's the predicament, that's the challenge Jesus gives.
Look at the next thing, this was resolved in the whole political realm. It says, "Whoever forces you to go one mile". There was a hated law the Romans had over the Jews. Any Roman citizen was asked any Jewish person to guide them a mile, to carry their pack for a mile, it was a law. And the Jews hated this law. How do we respond in situations where we have to abide by this law and we're forced to? What is a counter-cultural Christian response to that? Then the final one is in the business realm. Look at verse 42, "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you". So, we have Jesus responding to specific situations. Interpersonal relationships, lawsuits, someone wants to sue you and use that. And political situations.
Well, we have to do this according to the law. We don't like it, it makes us mad. In business situation. We have a relationship going here, how do we handle that? Jesus gives us a basic principle, and that is if we do more than is expected or reasonably required for us to do, then we are on? I want to show you how that works especially with the second mile principle. Whoever asked you to go 1 mile, that'd be the Romans under the law, go with him 2 miles. How does that work? Here's a Jewish boy hoeing in his field. He sees in his peripheral vision a Roman soldier coming down the road. He says, "I sure hope he doesn't see me and ask me to carry that heavy pack and all that gear for a mile".
And by the way, a Roman mile was 1,000 paces, a little shorter than our mile. And every Jewish person, every boy would have a mile peg driven down from every place in the road, so if you ever had to carry the burden of a Roman for a mile, he wouldn't go just one mile. They hated that rule. He's working in the field. The Roman soldier sees him, "Hey son, hey boy, come here! Carry my pack for a mile". And he slowly puts down his hoe, he slowly walks over to the road. He looks at him with hatred, picks up his pack, puts it on, he's dragging down, complaining. He comes to the end of the mile, a mile peg, he throws that pack down, he looks to the Roman soldier, he said, "Wait till my nation's on top. We're going to make you carry 10 tons, 10 miles," and he turns and he goes back to the field. He's so angry, he breaks the hoe over a tree, and he runs home and takes it out on his family. Sound familiar? Oh yeah.
Now, here's another young guy, he's working in the field. But he had heard Jesus talk about this second mile principle, "Whoever asked you to go with them 1 mile, go with them 2 miles". He's working in the field, Roman soldier says, "Hey boy, come carry my pack". He says, "Yes sir". And he walks and he vaults over the fence. He picks up the pack, puts it on his back, he walks in such a pace the Roman soldier has to pick up. He's asking questions about where he's been, wars he's in, about his family, about the Roman government, about the empire. And they go past the mile peg. Soldiers say, "Look son, you've gone far enough. You don't have to go any further". He said, "No sir, if you don't mind, I'm going to carry your pack all the way to the edge of the city. I'm enjoying learning about the Roman Empire".
And he walks all the way to the edge, he goes that second mile. And he gets there, he hands the pack to the soldier. And the soldier takes a glove off his hand, extends it to him, he says, "Listen, if you ever need anything from the Roman Empire, you know where to get me. I'll tell you where I'm going to be stationed. You are a rare, rare young man. You've gone with me the second mile". Young man went home and does 2 hours work in 1 hour's time. He goes home that night and his family sees him coming, he's smiling, they say, "We know what happened today to Abe. He went that second mile". Who was in charge of those two men walking together once the young man went the second mile? The young man was, wasn't he? We aren't just to roll over in a big ball when problems come, we are to go that second mile.
Do more than expected and reasonably required from you and me in every situation, and guess what? We'll be on? And you see that principle through all of these. You notice when somebody slaps you on the cheek, you don't just go... you what? You turn. You take over, you turn and say, "Hey, slander me some more. I'm here, let it go". Turn the other... how does that really work? Wallace knows this, others here know this. About over 20 years ago, I was appointed to be on a national committee. I was on the committee for 4 years, trying to bring reconciliation to 2 warring factions. Two people who were divided, two groups of people numbering millions. And so, we brought in people, we traveled all across this country and tried to find reconciliation. And we'd bring people in who would say, "This is the problem".
One man came in who was well-known at that day, he came in and in the middle of the time, he looked at another man who was seated there, who was well-known in that day, and he began to lacerate him. I mean, he challenged his ethics, his motives, his theology, his background. I don't know when I've heard anybody take a tongue lashing like this man did. And all the time he was being blasted, he just sat there with a sweet little smile on his face. And the more he smiled, the more outrageous were the accusations. Finally, when the meeting was over, because he never responded to all of this, the man who was so angry left the meeting, he just walked out. When it was all over, I went up to this guy and I said, "How in the world did you sit there? I have never heard such a... how were you able to do it"? He said, "You see your buddy there"?
Another friend of mine, he said, "He was seated behind me. He leaned down. As he would make one charge, he would say, 'Don't say a word.' Then he'd say something else, he said, 'Remain seated, don't even respond.'" He said he did that all the way through, he said, "Many times I wanted to stand, I wanted to speak". "Shh, shh. Don't answer him, don't answer him". Today, the man who made all of those charges, if I called his name, there wouldn't be five people who'd ever heard of him. The other man who just sat there, if I called his name, every single person in this room would know exactly who I'm talking about. You see, the Bible says a soft answer turneth away wrath, right?
But a better answer to a lot of wrath is this... Someone slaps you on the cheek verbally, whatever, sometimes the very best thing we can do is absolutely nothing. And we're prompted by the Holy Spirit, don't have a friend behind us like this guy did, so many times just to say, "Hey, you can't defend yourself anyway". See that principle? Do more than expected or reasonably required for us to do, we'll wake up one day and discover we're on? Every single time. Look how it applies there in the business world. Look at how in the courts. Jurisprudence, somebody's going to sue you for your shirt. You know, how do you respond? You just say, "Well"? No, what do you do? You let him have your coat as well; what? Yeah, say, "Hey, if there's a real need here, you need my shirt, you think you I've exploited you, here, take my coat". Say, "Boy, that's weird".
You see, if we just keep the law of man, we're not doing very much. And what about the whole realm of business here? He's talking about, "Hey, if there's a real need there, we've got to be available". In other words, people who are on God's team are generous people. We're benevolent people. That's what this is teaching us. And we don't just respond, we turn the other cheek. We say, "Hey, if you need it, I'll give you my coat as well in a legal situation. I have to go 1 mile with you, hey, I'll go 2 miles with you. And you want a bar? Here's this and here's what I have".
If there's a genuine need of help, you see, some wisdom and discernment from the Lord has to happen. Now, how does this all play out? If you go all the way, all the way to get the big, big, big picture, you have to go all the way to heaven. I'm in heaven, this is eternity. And I look back over there and say, "Boy, there's that person who said something about me, and I want you to know I responded to them, and I really told..." In heaven, that's so silly. Pfft! Somebody said, "In heaven, you know, I didn't lend that money there because..." That's so silly from heaven..
You see, all the conflicts we have all the time, we get upset, and we get mad, and we want to have our way, and we've been abused, and we've been used, we've been... what's that all about? It's about me, it's about you, it's about self. There's a passage there in Corinthians, Paul says, "I don't care what you think about me". No, no, he said, "I don't even care really what the world thinks about me". He said, "To be perfectly honest with you, I don't even judge myself. I don't even look at my", He said, "I have one audience, and that is the audience of God". He said all the rest... how did he get to this point? Familiar passage, Galatians 2:20, "I was crucified with Christ". It sounds like somebody's been executed, doesn't it?
So, when we die to ourself, I died to my goals, my pride, you see, if we practice all these things, people will say, "I want you to know that person has no courage. Man, they turned the other cheek when that person was saying all that about them". And then you say, "Well, I'll tell you what, I'm going to give you my coat as well". You'd say, "That person has no common sense. They sued him for his shirt, they're going to go overboard to give more. That guy has no common sense". And then you had to go the mile, "That person is not even patriotic. That person sided with the Romans and went an extra mile with that Roman dog. I want you to know that he's not even patriotic to Israel. He's not patriotic". And then the business thing, "My goodness, you'll lose everything".
You see, when we do more than expected or reasonably required for us to do, we are on? And we're going to be slandered, and people are going to laugh at us, they're going to wonder if we've lost our minds. But we're living counter-cultural lives. We're moving in the opposite direction. Now, all of these are little micro illustrations, right, in all these little arenas as how we ought to respond. How does this work in a macro situation?
Four years ago, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, man by the name of Charlie Roberts got up in the morning, put two of his children on the school bus, went and drove to an Amish school. He was angry at God because God had taken one of his children, he believed, from him. He goes to an Amish school, there were 26 kids in the classroom, he takes a gun and he shoots all 10 of the girls in the classroom. He takes his own life, five of the girls die. Now, the Amish want no publicity, they want to live their own private life in their own little different kind of community existence. But whatever they are or they are not, they are Jesus followers. How would you have responded, how would I have responded if one of those little girls had been my little girl or your little girl? I'll tell you, I'd say, "I'm going to find out where that guy's family is and his wife, and I may go take one of his children out. I'm going to tell you, I want revenge. Something's not going on".
Isn't that how we'd have responded? How did those unusual Jesus followers respond? They went immediately to the family of Charlie Roberts. They ministered to his wife and his kids, and all of those that surrounded him. They went to his funeral en masse. And the last report, they were still loving and supporting and trying to help the family and the friends of the man who had taken the precious, innocent lives of five little girls. When you and I do more than expected or reasonably required for us to do, and we respond to the abuses of life with aggressive love, that's it, aggressive love, guess what? We will know then that we are on?