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Is an eye for an eye fair?

Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. Leviticus 24:19-20

Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Deuteronomy 19:21

If you poke out someone’s eye and they demanded both of your eyes to be poked out, that would be unfair. One eye for one eye is very fair. It establishes an even consequence.

Equal justice for all is fair. Equal punishment must match the crime and the mistake.

Today, our judicial system tries to take into account so many other factors that lessen the punishment. A person’s rights may outweigh the justice. That’s unfair.

Once that gets out of hand, crimes increase because criminals know they won’t get in as much trouble as they should.

Jesus, though, came along and said this:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Matthew 5:39-42

Is he saying the “eye for an eye” thing was all wrong?

No, he’s saying it’s right and justifiable, but the one injured does not have to take the eye even though it’s fair they ask for it. Jesus is saying show mercy.

You have every right to ask for justice, but you have the choice to give mercy.