Some call it a paradox
Some call it contradiction
Some even call it development
Whatever your viewpoint, when looking at the King James bible as a whole, it is always interesting to juxtapose the Old Testament philosophy of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23) with the New Testament response of turn the other cheek(Matt 5:39). As a principle, both can be hard to reconcile.
Of the latter, Martin Luther King Jr said: "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
Regarding the sentiments of the former, the author William Painter economically remarked, “Vengeance is sweet.”
A further noteworthy observation on the way Christians rationalize the inherent contradiction between the two is depicted elegantly in a scene from Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s 1966 film
On the eve of battle the great British Major-General Charles George Gordon (aka
) is confronted by his non-Christian servant Khaleel. Khartoum
“This Jesus Christ” starts the servant adamantly. “Sometimes master I do
not understand this great man. For as I remember, you told me once most clearly
that he announced, ‘When a man is struck upon one cheek, he must turn the
The servant looks at Gordon and then quickly continues his inquiry.
Before the General can answer, Khaleel suddenly leaps back and in a mock demonstration slaps his own right cheek and then pretending to shake it off proceeds to angrily strike forward with a left jab, followed by a right hook, until
the invisible offender inevitably crumples to the floor.
At this point, the servant straightens himself before the great English
General, looks him directly in the eye and protests, “You don’t!”
A slightly amused Gordon shifts forward in his chair, then very calmly
and patiently replies: “I must inform you Khaleel, as delicately as possible, that I
am not Jesus Christ.”
However we philosophize, rationalize or justify, there is no denying a certain satisfaction in seeing another “receive their just dessert.” And, at the risk of overusing another threadbare expression, I myself admit to a certain enjoyment in seeing the tables turned!