The Jews had this rule called Lex Talionis, otherwise known as the Law of Retaliation. This is also known as “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. This kind of thinking could be described as “practical” to say the least.
But in the Gospel today, Jesus suggested another option when dealing with conflict – FORGIVENESS and KINDNESS. Indeed, this may not be practical, nor even of human instinct, but it does make sense.
Three reasons why?
- You cannot go wrong with Kindness. Anger begets anger indeed. But it is not necessarily that kindness will beget kindness. Yet, you cannot go wrong with kindness. The results may not be immediate but in the long run, kindness goes a long, long way.
- Forgiveness is a choice and the main beneficiary is the person who forgives. Life is short and swift and if we have anger in our life, we carry it throughout our lives. Yes, it is like travelling with huge luggages – we get nowhere. Nothing beats inner peace.
- At the end we will never regret forgiveness. There was a survey of people 90 years old and up and one of their biggest regrets is not forgiving. They fought about many things, mostly material things which at the end you cannot bring to the next life.
Why forgive and be kind? Because we are the first beneficiaries of forgiveness and kindness. God is perpetually forgiving us and showering us with blessings even when we don’t deserve it. Hence, the challenge to pay it forward.
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Truly one of the most difficult teaching of Jesus Christ. Kindness is easy but to forgive is divine.