In the World–July 21, 2019

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British Royal Marines recently boarded and detained an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar on suspicion that it was breaking international sanctions by taking oil to Syria. Shortly afterward, in a case of “eye for an eye” retaliation, three Iranian paramilitary boats attempted to divert a British Petroleum supertanker into Iranian territorial waters as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz, with the likely aim of seizing the ship. A British navy destroyer deterred the Iranian vessels, but the Iranian government has promised “repercussions” for seizing their ship.


Jesus addressed “eye for an eye” retaliations in the Sermon on the Mount. It’s true that an equal and restrained revenge is better than escalating responses: “You take my eye, so I take your life.” But Jesus turns the whole situation upside-down, as He does so often, by telling His followers to take no revenge at all. And if the command of zero vengeance weren’t hard enough to bear, He also commands us to love and even pray for the good of those who mistreat us.

  1. In the complicated and explosive tensions of the Middle East, should “an eye for an eye” be the diplomatic strategy? If not, why not?
  2. When someone wrongs you without provocation, how naturally do you seek to love and pray for that person?
  3. Why do you think Jesus asks Christians to behave this way to those who harm us?

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