“But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;” vs. 39
The whole practice of nonviolent resistance has pretty much fallen out of favor in these latter days. Even though it worked well for Gandhi and for King, many Christians have figured out how to get around Jesus’ straightforward instructions. Millions have decided that the Second Amendment offers better guidance than the Sermon on the Mount and have adopted a creed of violent resistance that echoes Old Testament law. Popular culture reinforces that attitude with a steady diet of movies that promote getting tough and getting even. By nature we don’t like to be taken advantage of and few people see reckless generosity as an attribute or even God-pleasing. Granted, this is a difficult subject, and we quickly run into questions related to military actions and the possibility of just wars. Obviously we don’t want to see innocents slaughtered in terrorist actions, and passive resistance to those who are cutting off heads seems absurd. But those ambiguities have always been a part of Christ-like living and we can’t be too quick to dismiss Jesus’ words about nonviolence. More often than not, in nearly all of our daily encounters, his admonition to live gently and at peace with our neighbor will reap enormous benefits. There’s plenty of tough talk out there, more than enough, and what’s really needed is a return to turning the other cheek!
Thought for the day: When has turning the other cheek worked for me?