Human nature is sinful. As much as we would like our natural man to be moral, just, and equitable… he just isn’t. An evaluation of the world around us quickly reveals that mankind is selfish, self-centered, and self-willed.
It is no wonder that there are hundreds of words that contain “self” in them in the English language. Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-image, self-pity, self-centered, self-conscious, self-critical, self-absorbed, self-abuse, self-acceptance, self-actualization, self-assertion, self-assurance, self-aware, self-conceited, self-congratulating, self-control, self-deceit, self-declared, self-defeating, self-defense, self-denial, self-deprecating, self-destruct, self-determination, self-devoted, self-diagnosis, self-disciplined, self-governing, self-help, self-identity, self-importance, self-interest, self-justification, self-made… and the list could go on and on!
We even have Self-checkouts now! We literally are a self-serving, self-focused people. You may deny this reality, but if you gave into your natural human disposition you would be all about YOU.
This reality is true even in the area of justice and equity. Human nature demands justice when we are slighted. If someone does you wrong, you feel justified in doing them wrong back. Someone hurts you, you want to hurt them back.
I see this in my children a lot. My oldest son, Nate, may get upset at his brother Andrew for doing something he doesn’t like. Then Andrew pushes Nate for yelling at him. This is followed by Nate slugging Andrew for pushing him. If Andrew is still feeling brazen enough to go after his older brother, he might pick up a toy or stick and go after Nate!
Notice the escalation? The boys went from annoying, to pushing, to hitting, to war! This doesn’t just happen in little boys life though… human nature views fairness and equity as one upping the slight against us. “They hurt me… I will devastate them!”
This human nature is one reason God enacted the fairness law of an eye for an eye. His people were not going to be like all other people, no, they were going to have true equity and fairness. Instead of a life for an eye, it would be an eye for an eye. Instead of total annihilation of a family because of the murder of one, there would be life for life.
God’s law was a merciful one that had never been enacted in human history, true equity. Unfortunately, the Jews did not practice this law as they should have many times, and allowed their human nature to run amuck.
Jesus in the New Testament takes the Law to a new plateau. The spirit of the Law is giving full attention, and Jesus shows God’s intention in giving the Law in the first place. One of the most amazing elevations of the Law is found in Matthew 5:38-42 – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
With Christ in our heart we have the opportunity to rise above our fallen flesh, and walk in the Spirit. We have the opportunity to forgive, turn the other cheek, and go the second mile.
I know it can be hard, but be willing to suffer wrong. When someone hurts you, hug them back. Human nature says a life for an eye, the Law says an eye for an eye, and the Christian has the opportunity to exchange love for an eye.
Today, make the choice to show the Love of Christ in your response to others mistreating you. Find a way to turn the other cheek today, and show the character and nature of Christ.
Daily Scripture Reading
Deuteronomy 17 - 20
“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.”