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Unfair and Unreasonable Treatment

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Have you ever heard someone say, “That is not fair?” I once heard of a missionary couple who had spent their whole life on the mission field and were returning home on a ship where the majority of the people were drinking and gambling. When the ship landed and the gang … More

Fairness

The Lord addresses the matter of oath making of which the Pharisees were notorious for.  The basis for Old Testament oath-taking  is found in Lev.19:12, Duet. 23:21 and Numbers 30:2.  Oaths taken in the name of the Lord were binding and it was a very serious matter to break them.  By old Testament law oaths were to be made only in God’s name.  However the Pharisees would swear by heaven, by the earth, by the Temple, by the hairs of their head etc.  Then when they wanted to get out of the agreement they would say it was not binding since God Himself had not been involved. 

Jesus is saying that all promises are sacred and when truth is profaned, God’s name is profaned.  He goes on to say that oaths should not even be necessary but that one’s life should be sufficient to back up his words.  Just mean what you say and say what you mean (v. 37). Jesus gives the following five examples of how a believer should react to unfair or unreasonable treatment (v. 38-42):

  1. Do not retaliate in personal relationships (v. 39).  However this does not mean that we are not to resist evil (James 4:7).
  2. In a legal judgment against you be willing to give more than you owe (v. 40).
  3. Do more than what is required of you (v. 41).
  4. When a person has a genuine need give him what is needed (v. 42).
  5. Also implied is that when we lend something to someone we should not expect to receive in return.

Application

Discuss ways you can put each of these principals into practice in your life.

Matthew 5:33-42 (English Standard Version)

"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil. "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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