How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies

Matthew 5:38-42 - Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 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. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 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.


I.    Introduction.

A.     The background to this message is because of verse 41. 

1.       This verse explains how the Jews could win the hearts of the Roman soldiers who occupied the nation of Israel. 

2.       Instead of begrudging the laws the Romans passed against them, the Jews were instructed by Christ to submit to those unjust laws, going two miles instead of the required one mile. 

3.       During the extra mile, the Romans would be more willing to listen intently to why the Jewish citizen was friendly and helpful. 

4.       The Jew would have to take time away from his busy day, of course, and in order to go the extra mile, the Jew would have to understand the larger picture of winning the lost Romans to the true faith of God. 


II.    Points:

A.     Christ did not say who said it. 

1.       Those who were guilty of such statements will not be embarrassed by their lack of knowledge, and will more readily be able to repent and live as Christ desired. 

2.       Sometimes it better that we not accuse individuals that they may be more able to repent and do what they should, but sometimes we must accuse individuals so they can clearly understand. 

B.     Christ is not speaking about law breakers.

1.       The law Christ is referring to is not the law of the land, but the law of God. 

2.       The punishment exacted by the law of God must be carried out, but the execution of judgment must not be with our vengeance in mind. 

C.     Puritanical law keeping does not work, as revealed by the present prison system in the U. S., which was established by the Puritans. 

1.       Criminals are put in jail to pay their “debt to society”, but society must support them and their families while they are in jail, plus pay all their medical and then educate them while they are in jail. 

2.       Some societies cut the hands off thieves, leaving them to unable support themselves and their families, and also leaves them with a permanent scar, that follows them the rest of their lives. 

3.       Christ did not condone such practices. 

D.     Verse 38 is natural, but it will not work, even though we might receive satisfaction in the flesh when we strike back at those who offend us. 

1.       Exodus 21:24  Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 

a.      This verse speaks about a particular situation, yet the Pharisees had “converted” the situation to fit all situations. 

b.      Even when judgment is carried out, it should never be carried out to satisfy our vengeance. 

2.       Leviticus 24:20  Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. 

a.      Here again are some particular situation, which teach us what is required of us. 

b.      It is always when a person hurts another person, they should try to make it right, but the Pharisees had turn the whole commandment around, not seeking restitution, or the attempt to make things right, rather to exact vengeance for any wrong against them. 

c.      If they did the wrong, they would do all they could to get out of restitution. 

3.       Deuteronomy 19:21  And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. 

a.      The context of this passage (Deuteronomy 19:15-21)again relates the purpose of this command. 

b.      It is not to get vengeance, rather to put evil away from Israel, and that on lookers would fear when they see the consequences of evil actions, and not commit evil. 

4.       Matthew 23:23  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 

a.      Jesus commanded the smallest law be fulfilled, yet everything was to be tempered with judgment, mercy and faith. 

b.      All laws are to be obeyed as Christ would obey them, not as we understand they should be obeyed. 

E.      The decree made by God concerning an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is still in effect, as is all parts of the law of God, yet judgment, mercy and faith is not to be forgotten. 

1.       Christ did not come to do away with the law, rather to fulfill the law. 

2.       He is our example, and we are to follow the excellent example he gave to us. 

F.      Romans 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.   

1.       The Pharisees, and sometimes us, have forgotten to cast all our care on the Lord, and depend on him to make things right, to protect us, and to keep us, and not depend on our own devices. 

2.       Pride often causes us to desire an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 

3.       I Peter 2:19-25 speaks about suffering because of doing right. 

a.      It is “natural” for us to take it patiently when we must suffer because of our sins, but it is “spiritual” for us to take it patiently when we must suffer because of our righteousness. 

b.      It is easy to suffer when we know we are wrong, but it seems unjust when we must suffer when we know we are right. 

4.       I Corinthians 6:7  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 

a.      The Corinthian brothers were take each other to court, rather than accepting wrong and trusting God to make it right, or teach them whatever lesson they needed to learn. 

b.      I Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  It may be correct to exact an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, but it is not expedient (profitable, or that which brings together). 

G.     Believers often miss the point that God sees all and will take care of all offenses against us if we will only let him. 

1.       Believers often have such a tight hold on the things of this world, they will not let them go without a fight.

2.       A major point believers often forget is that God is well able to make up for any thing we give up. 

3.       Sometimes all we can see is that we will lose a material object, never thinking that God gave us the material object in the first place, nor do we consider God might have given us the material object so we will have something to give up for him.