So I am getting a new tooth. A dental implant actually. This is to replace a tooth that broke off a few months ago. My dentist just inserted an implant that will hold the tooth in place. When my new tooth is ready, he’ll screw the artificial tooth in and supposedly, I won’t even know the difference.
Whad’ya think? Cool, huh? But let’s get back to the dental chair. So there I sat. Jaw numb with novocaine staring at my x-ray and for a moment, I had this thought.
If the children of Israel had dental implant technology in the wilderness, would it have changed the way they treated each other? Would they have treated each other better and would they have treated outsiders better?
In the book of Exodus we read:
“But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
This quote was the law. It was simply an explanation of how serious it is to physically hurt a brother or sister. Apparenly, the idea here was that the children of Israel would learn to understand the relative gravity of injury to one another. Maybe knocking a brother’s tooth out in a fight wouldn’t seem like such a good idea if he got to knock one of mine out to even the score. Unfortunately, “settling the score” rarely results in a mended relationship full of trust in one another.
But it gets even more challenging in the New Testament.
In Matthew 5, Jesus says “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
I’m getting a first hand lesson of how to apply this verse in my life right now and it’s HARD. Loving unlovable people is HARD WORK but then I remember that Jesus loves me even when I am unlovable and I find myself thankful for grace once again.
Something to think about.