Have you heard the saying “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”? This statement is found in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 19:21 “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”
Our society often uses this verse to say that a person who hurts another person should be hurt in the same way. For example, someone who shoots and kills another person should be shot and killed themselves. Or someone who starves a child should be made to starve themselves.
But, if you go back a few verses and read this in context you will find that the passage is addressing those who bear false witness. Liars. It says that if you testify that someone did something that they actually did not do then you will receive the punishment that they would’ve gotten.
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
In the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery, it says that the men took her before Jesus and asked Him what to do with her. Mosaic Law would dictate that she be stoned to death. But, Jesus told them “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
It was customary that the person bringing the charges would throw the first stone. In doing so, they would be swearing that what they were saying was true. So perhaps there were some holes in their story because it says that one at a time, they each dropped their stones. Maybe they were each suddenly convicted of the sin in their own lives. Or maybe they were afraid to bear false witness and receive a good stoning themselves. Either way, the woman lived to see another day as Jesus told her to go and leave her life of sin.
This story hits home with me as I think of all the stones that we cast at other people’s lives. The truth is we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
What if instead of casting stones, and knocking each other down, we helped each other up? What if instead of pointing fingers, we lent a helping hand?
What if we took the words of Ephesians 4:29 to heart and really lived them out?
“Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29
Have you heard the saying “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”? The same is true with people. You can draw more people to the Lord with love than you can with criticism. And isn’t that what life is all about?
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Lord, today I drop my stone. Help me Lord to not judge, criticize and condemn other people. Lord fill me with Your love so fully that it overflows onto all the people around me. In everything I say and everything I do, may I glorify You. In Jesus’ name,