“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.” Matthew 5:38-41 ESVUK
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Originally that was a very good idea. It limited revenge so that the punishment could not exceed the crime. Think of it, not as a compulsory sentence but a maximum.
With theft, it is the same. Someone steals your sheep, and if the sheep is found alive you restore twofold. Two sheep. That is the sheep you stole, plus another sheep. You steal a sheep then you lose a sheep. The punishment is the same as the crime.
If the sheep is found dead, you may like mutton, then you have to restore 4 times (5 times for an ox). The reason is that livestock was a person’s livelihood. You have taken away the means to make money.
That is the news to the thief. Jesus says something different, and in contrast, it about our attitude if we are the victims.
– Do not resist evil people
– If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also
– If anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well
– If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles
Not a recipe that would inspire people to vote for you, but this is not politics. This is Jesus asking us to treat others the way God treats us, giving us more than we ask for and going with us far longer than a second mile. It is not about blind obedience to rules but love.
The way the Church has met with persecution over the centuries has not been by resisting or fighting. Crusades are not the will of God. The way the church has met with persecution is still meeting with persecution, is through martyrdom. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus.