When God said: “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21), was He really saying “if someone knocks your tooth out — knock their tooth out”. In other words make sure you get your own back?
What about Jesus’ reversal of this. When Jesus said “If anyone strikes you on the right cheek — let them strike you on the left” (Matthew 5), was he really saying “let people treat you like a doormat”?
Both statements occur next to each other in Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Both are confusing, and both commonly misunderstood. Here’s a 7 minute section of a sermon I gave which explains for you:
The video begins automatically at 13m, 44s . Watch the 7 minute section to 21m 21s for the explanation. (Of course, you can watch it all but I’m pointing you to the most relevant bit:-))
If you enjoy that, try the whole thing: The Old Testament Explained — in one sermon.