Theological Commentary: Click Here
It is the most basic of all laws: An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth. In other words, whatever you do to others can be done back to you. It is the more punitive flip-side of the New Testament teaching, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
I have to wonder how many of us truly consider the scope of this commandment. When we are driving down the road and we drive in such a way as to anger others, do we really think about this commandment and how we are guilty of angering other people? When we are having a bad day and we let our bad day rub off on other people and make their day worse, do we think about this law? When we see someone truly in need and are capable of helping out but choose to walk past, do we think about this law?
So often we apply this law when the sin is grievous. When there is a case of murder, we use this to justify punishment as I believe we should. When there is a case of arson, we hold the person responsible for damages. When there is a case of treason against a government, the punishment is usually quite serious.
However, how ready are we to apply this law to the small sins? When we tell a little white lie, do we think about how we deserve to be likewise injured through a lie? When we act out of selfishness and self-centeredness do we consider how we deserve to be impacted by the self-centeredness of others?
This is also why I value the teachings of Christ. Jesus agrees with this law as good, but He also challenges us to rise above it. This law is what we deserve. But Jesus teaches us that the way of God is to turn the other cheek. When someone takes from us, we should offer even more. From the perspective of the offender, we need to recognize how we deserve to be punished. From the perspective of the offended, we need to recognize the opportunity for grace.