You must purge the evil from among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Deut. 19:19,21 [NIV]
I recently had a tooth removed. From the day the massive hole appeared till the moment I finally had it removed, I had suffered in pain. On a particular day, I had felt so much pain that I couldn’t talk properly. My head had been on fire that day. It was by God’s grace that I had gotten home from work that day
I remember going to the clinic the next day. The doctor had said that the tooth had to be removed. I still remember asking him if it was going to grow back. I knew that it wasn’t going to regrow, but I had asked anyway. I was too old for a tooth to regrow. So, no replacement for a lost tooth. Gone, never to return.
In the Law, the way that sin and evil was to be purged from among God’s people was by showing no pity. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot. This did not necessarily bring back the lost organ but served as some sort of warning to those thinking of carrying out the same act again. I can imagine a young lad who lost an arm smiling at the man who cut his arm because he knew that the man would pay for that arm. I can also imagine him lying on his bed at night, suffering from the pain and crying. Truth be told, no lost arm can be restored. In the real sense, a tooth for a tooth never brings satisfaction. It doesn’t replace the lost tooth, it doesn’t make one feel better. Taking an arm for a lost arm will not replace that which was lost.
As believers under the New Covenant, we are supposed to lose the ability to take a tooth for a tooth. Just like I had outgrown the age for a tooth to regrow, so also must every believer outgrow the stage where he/she longs for certain things to regrow and seek revenge when they don’t. Once your heart is broken, don’t look for heart to break. Once you lose something that you love and value so much, don’t go around looking for whom to rob.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone srikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
People will hurt you. Whether they do so intentionally or not doesn’t matter. Your job is not to look for a way to repay evil with evil; it’s to forgive them and move on. I have seen people swear upon their lives to repay others for the wounds in their lives. But they never get satisfied, even after taking their revenge.
A tooth for a tooth could also apply to words spoken against you. Something happened a few days ago that brought the Nigerian Presidential Couple into limelight. The first lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, had openly criticized her husband’s appointments publicly on BBC Hausa, stating that he didn’t know 45 out of 50 people working for him. She had also said that if things continued like this till 2019, she would not campaign or vote for him like she had done before. The president had been in Germany at the time and had decided to respond. His response had been poorly timed.
“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs in my kitchen and the living room and my other room.” I really don’t know if that was supposed to make her look bad and weak, whether that statement was aimed at making her feel like her opinion on how he ran his government didn’t matter, but it made him look foolish and dumb before the whole world. Sometimes you really have to take the words of Jesus literally and turn the other cheek.
“An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”
I had felt so much pain a few hours after the bad tooth was removed. I could barely talk. We can relate with pains of different degrees in all our lives, pains that have been brought by people we had entrusted our hearts with. But after taking my drugs religiously, the pain became so little that the only way that it could be triggered would be to have any particle touch the affected area. No better drug can be administered to a hurting soul than the touch of the Healer.
You will lose many things before you die, trust me. You’ll cry and wish people weren’t so wicked and heartless. But you have to let go and forgive. Only then can you receive your healing and be whole.
Let go of your hurt and move on. Once a tooth is gone, it’s gone.