Do Not Retaliate
Matthew 5:38-48, Readers Theater

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Part of a study on the Sermon on the Mount

Readings from: Matthew 5:38-48; Leviticus 24:17-21; Proverbs 25:21-22; and Romans 12:21

READER 2 Here is justice by law
READER 3 Before a judge
READER 1 [Boldly] If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death.
READER 2 Anyone who takes the life of someone's animal must make restitution -- life for life.
READER 3 If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
READER 4 As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured.
READER 1 Whoever kills an animal must make restitution,
READER 2 but whoever kills a man must be put to death.
READER 1 This is justice
READER 2 And it is good and holy.
READER 3 Good.
READER 4 Holy.
READER 1 But judgment and condemnation are for the judge,
READER 2 Not the individual;
READER 3 For the court,
READER 4 Not the vigilante.
READER 3 It is not for individuals to take into their own hands.
READER 1 "You have heard that it was said ..."
READER 2 Droned the Pharisees
READER 1 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'
READER 2 To justify their personal hatred
READER 3 Their personal retribution
READER 4 Their personal vengeance
READER 2 In personal relationships
READER 3 Not in the courts!
READER 4 To justify the venom in their hearts
READER 2 Not in cases before a judge.
READER 3 Their hearts did not display justice,
READER 4 But vengeance;
READER 2 Not law,
READER 3 But license to hate.
READER 1 But I tell you, says Jesus, Do not resist an evil person.
READER 2 If someone strikes you on the right cheek,
READER 3 turn to him the other also.
READER 4 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic,
READER 3 let him have your cloak as well.
READER 1 If someone forces you to go one mile,
READER 2 go with him two miles.
READER 3 Give to the one who asks you,
READER 4 and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
READER 1 Instead of hatred towards your enemy,
READER 2 pour out love.
READER 3 Instead of vengeance
READER 4 Blessing.
READER 1 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
READER 2 if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
READER 3 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
READER 4 and the Lord will reward you.
READER 1 Do not be overcome by evil,
READER 2 but overcome evil with good.
READER 3 You have heard that it was said,
READER 4 Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
READER 1 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
READER 2 Sons of your Father,
READER 3 Daughters of your Father,
READER 4 Just like your Father in heaven.
READER 1 He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
READER 2 On the evil,
READER 3 And on the good
READER 1 And sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
READER 2 On the righteous,
READER 3 And the unrighteous.
READER 2 He gives to those who love him,
READER 4 And he gives to those who hate him.
READER 1 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
READER 2 Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
READER 1 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?
READER 2 Do not even pagans do that?
READER 3 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
READER 4 Be perfect?
READER 1 Mature.
READER 2 Yes, be mature.
READER 3 Grow up to maturity in your Father
READER 4 Strive for that perfect, mature love that your Father has
READER 2 For the righteous
READER 3 And the unrighteous.
READER 1 Jesus calls us beyond our childish petty hatreds
READER 2 And unforgiveness.
READER 3 Beyond retaliation
READER 4 And vengeance.
READER 1 He calls us to God's own maturity of love.
READER 2 Be perfect,
READER 3 Be perfect
READER 4 Be perfect, therefore,
ALL As your heavenly Father is perfect.

All lessons now compiled as a 220-page book available as an e-book or printed book.

Part of a study on the Sermon on the Mount found at

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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