Lex Talionis

As Jeff pointed out, the Sermon on the Mount calls us to examine our inner righteousness so that our outer lives may be transformed. This week’s focus was on retaliation: how do we, as Christians, react to being offended? Jeff juxtaposed Jesus’s teaching on Lex Talionis (the Law of Retaliation) with the laws found in the Old Testament.

Read Matthew 5:38-42 and Exodus 21:24.

  • Why do you think we desire to “get back” at someone for offending or hurting us?
  • For the sake of imagination, if the entire world put into practice Jesus’s teachings in just this passage, how different would our world be? What specifically would change in our families, communities, nations, and the world?

Read Matthew 26:65-68 and 1 Peter 2:23.

  • Think about your closest relationships (spouse, children/parents, small group, co-workers, etc.). How might they say you respond when you are offended?
  • Jeff said that our response to offense, if we have been shaped by Jesus, should be to respond just like Jesus did. How can we prepare our hearts in our day-to-day lives to respond like he does in situations of high offense?

Sinclair Ferguson said, “Do not make your ‘rights’ the basis for your relationships with others.’

  • What did he mean by this? What kind of world is created when we base our relationships and interactions on our “rights”?
  • In what ways can you lay down your relational “rights” to foster Christ-like connection with the people around you?

Anger, retaliation, and vengeance only survive because we propagate them. When these feelings are not dealt with internally, they inevitably spill out into our external lives, relationships, and the people around us. Re-read Matthew 5:38-42, and meditate on this passage every day this week.

Pray to close.