Payback is Biblical? (Exodus 21:23-25)
April 30, 2017 Speaker: Rev. Frank Wang Series: The Most Misused & Misunderstood Verses of the Bible
Topic: Sermons Passage: Exodus 21:23–25
We’ve been working our way through misused, misinterpreted, and misunderstood passages for the past 14 weeks, and guess what? We’re still finding new and inventive ways to twist the Scriptures to fit whatever we want.
This week, we’re in Exodus 21:23-25. Unfortunately for us, there are a ton of closely associated principles in this passage. Thus, unless I can get universal agreement from all of you to preach for several hours, a comprehensive and nuanced approach that hits everything is impossible for a Sunday morning sermon. So, we’re going to focus on the idea of retribution. The well-known phrase, “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”, comes out of this passage, and is often called lex talionis, or the law of retribution. It details what retaliation for crimes committed is lawful. And as with so many things, this law/principle has often been used to justify our own personal desires to see “justice” done.
As I thought about how this applies to my own life, my first impulse was to say that I didn’t have a problem with retaliation and vengeance. But as I took a closer look at the way in which I handle people hurting me, I wasn’t quite comfortable with saying that I embodied Christ’s teaching to extend mercy and forgiveness either. We have a problem with retaliation because our sinful hearts yearn to be the ones to set things “right”. We’ll be exploring how we seek retaliation against others and ourselves. Hopefully we’ll be able to apply a Gospel perspective to things to change how we interact with those who hurt us.
See you on Sunday.