The Road to Forgiveness, Not Retaliation!
“…eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”
Leviticus 24:20 (The Message)
In a recent newspaper I read a report about an Iranian mother who spared the life of a convicted killer who was standing on the gallows with the rope around his neck, waiting to be hung for the murder of her 18 year old son Abdullah. First she slapped his face, and then granted him a reprieve before her husband removed the noose from around his neck. Then the mother of the convicted man ran up to and embraced the mother who had spared her son and tears flowed! What an amazing moment—a mixture of fear, sorrow and joy for both these families. What an amazing gift from one mother to another, a reaching out with grace, with forgiveness and mercy, saving another mother the sorrow of also losing her son. This lady walked down the road of forgiveness, not the road of retaliation, which shows us very forcefully that there is another way to resolve disputes. Unfortunately we humans will constantly take the road of retaliation and sometimes, sadly, just because our feelings have been hurt by someone else.
Henry Powell Spring wrote in his 1944 book, What is Truth, “If the Spirit, Who is Life, exacted an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth, this world would be peopled with the blind and the toothless.” In other words, we are all guilty of something and deserve to be punished, but we have received grace and forgiveness instead.
As you know, Jesus taught this principle of forgiveness during the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:38-39. He said to his disciples, “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’…No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
Hopefully, we will never be in the position of this forgiving mother who didn’t seek vengeance, or retaliation but took the forgiving road and set this guilty person free. What an amazing example for us all to follow, and show the world a better way to resolve our difficulties.
As Peter Ustinov once said: “Love is a life of constant forgiveness, a tender look that becomes a habit!”
Gracious Father, please help us always to choose the forgiving road when we are confronted with situations where we are sinned against and to reflect your beautiful nature to others.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan Phone: 01908-582222