Law of Imitation
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Recommended Reading – Colossians 3:12-14
The Latin phrase lex talionis refers to the “law of retaliation,” illustrated by the biblical instruction of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24). The biblical guideline was meant to limit punishment, not mandate it; and the New Testament suggests a better response to wrongdoing: love and grace instead of retaliation.
Nothing is more impulsively human than retaliation, and nothing is more supernaturally surprising than the extension of grace in all things — especially when one has been wronged. And in Ephesians 4:32, there is a reason for such an unnatural response: We should extend grace to others because of the grace that has been extended to us by God. It takes a measure of disregard and contempt to say, “Even though God has extended grace to me, I choose not to extend that same grace to others.” God had every reason not to extend grace to humanity, but He did anyway. And He calls us to do the same. We can know it’s the right thing to do when we feel a natural resistance to doing it.
Instead of the law of retaliation, practice the law of imitation. Do for others what you have seen God do for you.
A sound theology must be a theology where grace is central to it.
R. C. Sproul