TEXT: Matthew 5:38-6:4


Bob, my son-in-law, calls it “the theory of escalation.” Sometimes my children play rough and as each tries to outdo the other, the games just keep getting rougher and rougher.


The games, we can sometimes tolerate; when we do the same in real life we find that very soon things spiral way out of control. The law said ‘like for like;’ you can’t exact an ‘eye’ for a ‘fracture,’ you can’t demand a bull as replacement for your dead sheep. What did Jesus have to say about this?


Fifty-five years ago, the Waodani Indians in Ecuador were practicing the theory of escalation; their spears were killing so many of their fellow tribesmen that it is very likely that the entire race might by now have become extinct: Five young Christian men; with superior fire power decided not to shoot back. The rest is history: Five men died but the tribe lives; and many in it live to tell others the story of redeeming love. (P.S. Get a copy of, “End of the Spear,” a very touching story.)


Additional study scriptures: Leviticus 24:17-22; Deuteronomy 19:16-21




In one of life’s greatest ironies; the all powerful God makes his blessings evenly distributed and available to all: He ‘rains on’ the good and the bad; planting a seed and getting a harvest works equally for both saint and sinner. As Christians, are we being equally indiscriminate when we bless?


Additional study scriptures: Psalms 112:5




We continue this lesson with the need to have our attitudes pure and under control. We generally recognize three kinds of giving; ‘prayer’ is for our souls, ‘fasting’ is for our bodies, and ‘alms-giving’ is for our estates. (Mathew Henry) The catch in all our gifting is the motive. A philanthropist may give millions for the name or recognition received. The name or the recognition is all they get. Jesus calls this hypocrisy. Gifts, secretly given, get our father’s attention. Jesus ignored the ‘trumpet blowers’ and honored the widow who gave her penny.


Additional study scriptures: Luke 12:1; Psalms 112:9; Proverbs 3:27





  1. The Mennonite church uses Matthew 5:38-42 to teach that Christians should never appeal to a court of law to receive redress for a wrong done to them. Do you think that is what Jesus was teaching here? Why, or why not? ________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. God ‘is perfect’ both in what and in how he gives; can we be perfect if we don’t give? _____________________________________________________________
  3. Matthew 6:1 refers to ‘giving,’ ‘fasting,’ and ‘praying.’ It calls these three things “__________________________________________________________________________________________” Why? __________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  4. Tell of a time when you prayed for or blessed someone who was giving you grief. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________