An eye for an eye?…

February 8, 2017

“I appeal for cessation of hostilities, not because you are too exhausted to fight, but because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. You will never kill it by its indifferent adoption.” Mahathma Ghandi

Donald Trump’s favorite Bible verse involves an “eye for an eye.” Trump appears to be referring to a passage from Exodus 21-24, which lays out the Old Testament rules governing personal behavior. It is his favorite verse or story from the Bible that has impacted his thinking or character. He was asked about it, saying: “Well, I think many. I mean, you know, when we get into the Bible, I think many. So many,” he responded. “And some people—look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country, I mean, when you see what’s going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us, and how they scoff at us and laugh at us.” “And they laugh at our face, and they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re taking the health of our country,” he continued. “And we have to be firm and have to be very strong. And we can learn a lot from the Bible, that I can tell you.”

In Matthew (5:38-42) in the New Testament, Jesus repudiates that notion. ““You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Prayer: God, the Old Testament teaching is based on the notion that you are a warrior God who wants an eye for an eye. But Jesus embodied a different truth. Ghandi, Martin Luther King and others lived the New Testament truth that war ends when “an eye for an eye” is overcome by love. God, help our nation. Have new spiritual leaders rise up to proclaim the truth that Jesus stood for. Amen

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