Getting Even—Or Not

“His disciples must not resist one who is evil, that is, they must not (according to the rule ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’) return evil for evil. They must not counter an unfair demand of their neighbor with an equally unfair demand of their own. They must not attempt to avenge themselves on their neighbor with like conduct but rather seek to win him with love, patience, long-suffering, leniency, and a spirit of accommodation. Christ is absolutely not condemning every instance of defending one’s own rights. . . . but the rights of others as well as our own must, according to Christ, be esteemed so highly that they may not in any way be subordinated to personal vindictiveness, hatred, self-interest, to the evil tendencies of the human heart.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, p. 161)

“Retribution is never for the purpose of placating personal revenge but for the purpose of satisfying justice. Justice is not vindictive though it is vindicatory.” (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, p. 174)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.

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