Forgiving Those Indebted To You (Through the Gospels)
“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” ^Matthew 5:38-39. (Click to read the entire passage)
When you are wronged a debt is created. Whether it is emotional, physical or financial there is an unavoidable sense that the wrongdoer owes you something. This person in indebted to you and has to pay for what he or she has done.
If it’s emotional abuse, you may desire to inflict the same or worse emotional pain they caused you. If it’s physical, you may even retaliate with violence and anger.
In the natural world, it seems right that they pay you back for what they have done wrong. However, in the Christian world you absorb the debt by freeing them from their offense through forgiveness. Forgiveness absorbs the debt that was created by the person who offended you. Why do we do this? Because Jesus absorbed our debt by forgiving us of all our sins. When we repay evil with evil, we create a perpetual state of of emotional, physical and spiritual debt. However, forgiveness brings an end to the cycle of evil. This is exactly what Jesus did for us when He absorbed the debt of our sins.
When Jesus says, “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39), Jesus is talking about forgiving and releasing people from the debt that is owed to you. This passage does not imply putting yourself in harms way and allowing people to inflict physical pain on you.
No. Jesus is teaching us a spiritual principle about the power of overcoming evil with good and wrongs with forgiveness. This is a powerful spiritual insight that the Lord wants us to get a hold of. Releasing people from their wrongs not only frees them, but if frees us. It gives us the ability to love and move forward in our lives!