"And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions.
You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true.
Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.
"Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.'
Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it.
If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it.
And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life.
No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.'
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)