At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work”Proverbs 24:29
What we have here is a negative form of the Golden Rule. Jesus teaches us that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31). That is the positive form. A straightforward negative form of this would be “do not do unto others what you would not want done unto you.”
This proverb steps into an application of the principle in media res, after the other person has (unaccountably) already started it. Someone else has already done you wrong, and you are trying to figure out how to respond. This proverb instructs on what not to say.
Do not say things like “we’ll see if he can finish what he started.” Do not say “sow the wind, reap the whirlwind, pal.” Do not say “God is not mocked, and a man will reap what he sows.” Do not say “doesn’t the good book say to do unto others what they did unto you?” Well, no, it doesn’t. As we can see here, it says precisely the opposite.
There are certainly times when there needs to be a judicious response to a particular form of wrongdoing. But when this happens, whether coming from the pastor, or the elders, or a father, or a magistrate, there must be absolutely no ego-crackle in it. A desire for justice is one thing. A cutting desire to hit back is quite another.
And so this is the place where the Lord’s instruction to turn the other cheek needs to come into play. In short, the ethos of the Golden Rule has nothing about it which is retaliatory.