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23 OCT 2023 |Eye For An Eye

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I (Jesus) tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

(Matthew 5:38-39)

The vicious cycle of "eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth" is played out in the historical relationship between Israel and Palestine. Depending on which part of history you pick out or which stats you pull out, there will be incidents when the oppressor becomes the oppressed, and vice versa, the oppressed becomes the oppressor. So today the debate rages and Israel states the current atrocity was started by Hamas, the Palestinians will argue the seeds of rebellion began when their land was occupied, and nations take positions based on centuries old incidents and justifications. When this war ends, the fuel for revenge will not be extinguished as our past have shown, as a new breed of haters arise.

It is proven that mankind in this present state, fallen, prideful and sinful, will find it difficult to rule the world with equity. Jesus' teaching to turn the other cheek is an unattainable ideal and an impractical resolution only because the pill for forgiveness is so bitter to take and impossible without Christ and an acceptance of the kingdom of God. The Crusaders and Jihadists (past and present) were religious men trying to do their gods favours to attain credits for heaven. Paradoxically, Jesus never hinted of Holy War nor did He perpetuate revenge. Instead, He said, "but I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven," Matthew 5:44-45. This is when most human rulers would draw the line and may I add most electorates too.

The "now and the not yet" nature of Christ's teachings are meant to inspire people to break the chain of violence and hate in this present world but they also point us to a kingdom to come that would not be handicapped by human impairment and reign. When we face problems, we often ask "where is God?" "Is God fair to bring this upon us?" I would like to suggest that these questions are looking at the wrong end of the issue. The teachings of Christ instead are meant to help us acknowledge the limitations of this life, to look to the promise of the life to come, and as we stumble towards eternity through the process of failures, confession, refinement and faith, we do so knowing we are not perfect yet and neither is the world we are living in. Because of this, we place our hope in Christ and respond to crisis, no matter how hard, with an eye on the kingdom to come.

Ps Loke Chi Shyan


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