Tit For Tat


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I have been reading today in Matthew; chapters 4 and 5. And at verses 38-42 in chapter 5 as I read I asked, “LORD what did You mean when You said this?”

Matthew 5:39-42 (New American Standard Bible) 39“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  40“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.  41“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.  42” Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

And my understanding of what He answered follows.

First, is it just me or does ‘do not resist an evil person‘ seem like a contradiction of what we on the surface know about JESUS? Of course you know me well enough to know that I will proclaim til my dying day that THERE ARE NO CONTRADICTIONS in ABBA’s Scripture. Therefore, what the Disciples understood on that day that JESUS spoke this in their hearing, some 2000 years later it’s not so easily grasped; at least not by me.  Not until today.

This is not a Blanket Text prohibiting life protecting self and family and property preservation.  This is ‘tit for tat’ control.

First, let us look at the word resist. That Greek word is anqistemi and is transliterated Anthistemi and the meaning to set one’s self against.  Is it still clear as mud? Hang with me.  The mud will dry up in a bit.  Next word evil.  And that Greek word is poneroß and is transliterated Poneros and means full of labours, annoyances, hardships pressed and harassed by labours.  Interesting, huh? Not the usual picture of evil is it?  Causes me to think in tit for tat situations we often assume the worse about a person without knowing the hardships, the labours, the hard pressed annoyances, harassing labourious  things that may influence them to react and act the way they do.  I am not excusing bad behavior by any means! I’m just saying we want mercy when we are having a PMS day, don’t we?  What if they have a PMS life?  Something to think about.

How about this?  It’s a silly word picture but it may help.  Did me.

You are speaking with your neighbor across the back fence, the conversation moves into a sensitive area and unexpectedly your neighbor reaches across the fence and slaps you way beyond a love pat.  Now do you set yourself against him?  That is do you plant, steady your feet, draw back your fist and go way beyond a love pat upside his head?  You do if you are bent on violating this Scripture.  If you are teachable and if you are head over heels in love with JESUS, you turn to him your other cheek.  That is you rally your stunned self, back up, excuse yourself and go in the house; and there you wait and pray for ABBA to intervene, and when HE opens the door for meaningful, repairing conversation, you follow HIM through that door.

Verse 40.  Does that mean no lawsuits ever?  Does that mean we never enlist the court system?  Does that mean we just roll over and give away every penny we got to anybody who wants it?  Of course not! That’s not what I see here.

Again, a silly word picture to help us see the ‘big picture’.  You and your neighbor have a difference of opinion and this time there’s some monetary value at the base of the disagreement.  And he files suit against you. What now? What is the Scriptural thing to do?   I really believe verse 40 holds the answer.

How much is it? Is he suing  you for your shirt or for your whole closet of shirts, coats, slacks and shoes? You see the HUGE difference?

For your shirt? Pay it in JESUS NAME and be done with it!

For your whole closet?  That’s not tit for tat, is it? That’s  time for family resource preservation and you owe it to your family in JESUS NAME to defend them.

41 and 42.  Same principle.  We must do more than the Average Joe.  We must go beyond the normal in conduct, in work ethic.  We must excel.  We must do our best in everything we set out to do.  We must be marked with generosity; being generous in Spirit,  conduct and resources. Again, DO NOT for one moment think I am suggesting, nor do I see JESUS saying to us, to open our checking account and let any Tom, Dick or Harry clean it out.  No! No! No! And right here I am strongly reminded to set forth this Verse to you. 1 Timothy 5: (New American Standard Bible) 8But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

If we let Tom, Dick and Harry clean us out, how shall we feed, clothe and educate Junior and Mary as this verse commands us to do? In all that we have looked at today, we prosper when the Holy Spirit controls US AND our bank accounts.  And let me tell you HE has more ‘common sense’ to impart to us in all these areas than we have yet to experience.

To review the list of names for prayer, please click here.

DADDY GOD, this has been another one of those that was not so easy to write, one You know I have labored over even before coming to this screen to write.  And so as we wrap this up and set it to post, I pray it will help. That it will answer questions, that it will give guidance, that it will bring peace and comfort and even encourage us to do the right thing and to know what that right thing is and trust You to supply the desire and the resources in it all.

And now I am entrusting our IDOKs, our Readers, all named on our List for Prayer and our IDOK Troops to Your safe keeping, to You for provisions and protection, for healing and mending, clothing, educating and just blessings all around.  I love you, ABBA, in JESUS Name. Amen and amen.