Scott Postma

A blog about the Great Books, the Craft of Writing, and Human Flourishing.

The Right to Not Retaliate

Humans have a fundamental right to justice.

(But don’t get too excited; that sword swings both ways.)

The desire for justice is why there’s an innate desire to retaliate when someone does us wrong.

And because men are not angels, the lex talionis (law of retaliation) was given to set just boundaries to prevent unlawful retaliation (e.g., an eye for an eye, not two eyes for an eye).

But as Jesus taught–and modeled at Calvary–we also have the right to not retaliate, and instead to go the extra mile for the sake of the offender.

And since the disciple is not above his Master, the Law of the gospel is to imitate Jesus.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38–42, ESV)

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About Scott Postma

Scott is a writer and teacher living in North Idaho. He loves teaching the Great Books, writing and blogging, and collecting more books than he’ll ever read in a lifetime. You can subscribe to the tribe and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

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