I'm interested in your opinion . . . on this instruction of Jesus to mankind.
Why did Jesus give us this commandment?
How does it affect us?
How does it affect others?
Do you know a person that lives up to this instruction?
All comments will be welcomed by me . . . with no strings attached.
Blessing to all.

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Hello my Friend:
38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

This is the passage in context. And of course the larger context is the Beatititudes. Jesus was most certainly giving us a difficult message, but like so much of the Bible, it doesn't make much sense if we read only one small phrase alone. I love this passage, as he is telling us not to respond in kind to evil. Instead, turn the other cheek...let him strike you again. If someone wants your tunic, give him your cloak as well. This is the sort of radical change that I love about our teacher Jesus, and what moves me to be a pacifist. I am not expected to respond as another of my neighbors might. I am to dig deeper and respond with love. I am not to be bothered by the things my society concerns itself with as far as actions and consequences, I am to respond in the way God desires me to. This is truly the stuff the early Friends were moved by!!
Thanks for your comment . . . many blessings to you and your offspring.
This is the hard one isn't it? It is one thing to love God and our neighbor, and one another, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.

But to not resist evil just hits us in the gut. As a responsible, serious person I have to resist evil. Most of my heroes are resisters of evil.

The problem with resisting evil is that it leads to a confrontational and crusading spirit, the spirit that leads to conflict and the taking of sides, to division, hate, of us versus them, wars.

I think that is Jesus' point. He taught the coming of the Kingdom of God, here and now. He wants us to help bring that Kingdom to fruition by loving God and our neighbor--and our enemies--by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.

So the idea, possibly, is to stay focused on loving and sharing, and thereby help to create the Kingdom of God here and now, and by doing so evil will be eliminated without our having to resist it.

What this may mean in practice is that "non-violence" alone is not enough to meet the standard taught by Jesus. Non-violent techniques that are fairly innocuous may actually conflict with Jesus' teaching. Boycotts, shunning, rendering or witholding aid to only one side of a conflict, may all contradict Jesus' teaching.

As far as trying to live up to this instruction I am fortunate to not have to face real/serious evil personally in my life at this time. But I feel so insulted, disrespected, unappreciated and abused by the teenagers and young adults in my life! I have to teach them a lesson! I'm not the maid! I can't let them get away with taking advantage of me and treating me the way they do! They are so inconsiderate! I have to punish them! Take away their cell phones (it is good for them anyway right?), take away t.v. privileges, ground them! And how about my secretary! She's always late! I should write her up! Send her home without pay for a day or two! That would show her to take her job seriously! We don't want to spoil people do we? They should have to live with the natural consequences of their actions! And I should stand up for myself! I can't just let people walk all over me! What about my rights as a human being! What am I co-dependent or something? And so on and so forth it seems, in real life, trying as hard as we can to follow Jesus....
Thank you for you comment.
Many blessings to you and everyone you meet.
Hello Freind, Walter Wink has written on this passage, and his exegetical stance is more than interesting. He finds, and I did the background work, that the greek verb translated as resist is mostly used within the context of military or mass resistance, and not in any sense related to a relaxed or door-mat stance concerning justice. As Wink might say, the passage might be read as such (and this is my paraphrase, not Wink's): Do not resist the occupier with military force. Indeed, Wink's exegetical work lays the foundation for such an interpretation by suggesting the following interpretation of preceding passages. Asking the believer to "go the extra mile" refers to a Roman law that demands soldiers can only conscript Palestinians (such as Simon the Cyrene being conscripted to help with Jesus' cross) to carry the wieght of their packs for one mile. Going the extra mile as a conscript not only serves your enemy, but makes him think twice because fo Roman law meant to prevent such abuse. Turning the other cheek is more intricate. When struck by a social superior, a slave or other persons of inferior status were struck with the back of the oppressor's right hand. The left hand was only used for unclean tasks, and would be a sign of weakiness in an opponent. To strike a slave or social inferior with a closed fist would indicate, not superiority, but equality between opponents, a thing no social superior would risk as it would indicate the potential power of the slave population or other marginalized peoples. So when a believer accepted a strike on the cheek with the back of a supposed superiors hand, he did not resist physically, but resisted non violently with dignity, and forced teh superior to make an important decision in respect to social relationships. another indicator of Jesus' intent with the statement is clarified by Paual in Romans 12, wher Paul exhorts believers not to return evil with evil. Blessings, scot miller
Hey Scott:

It was good to hear from you . . . say hi to your young man for me. He will be a blessing to you.
Blessing and love

I've read Walter Wink's interpretation. Most of it seems reasonable to me. The part about the slap with the back of the right hand vs the left hand, etc., well, I don't know. Just seems too technical to me. I have trouble believing that Jesus was laying anything out with that amount of technicality.

I do agree with his translation of "Do not retaliate against violence with violence." (See essay by Wink at http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1216-30.htm)

However, I think that the real message is that we must be prepared ultimately to die. It's all well and good to imagine that we'll give some sort of moral message to our enemies if we refuse to fight them and that we'll win them over that way. I'm afraid, though, that there are many ruthless aggressors who will not be so easily persuaded. I think that it will take the deaths of many non-violent persons before those supporting the aggressors become conscience stricken and withdraw their support and go over to the side of the pacifists. (That's what happens in the novel The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk, for example. A country that is completely unarmed is invaded by military aggressors. The soldiers defect, however, after several non-violent citizens are killed at the command of the general, and they take the general prisoner instead.)

I ask myself over and over again if I'd have the courage to die rather than try to defend myself in such a situation. I pray that I would, but I sure can't say right now.
Thanks for writing and being truthful.

I'm inclined to favor the New English Bible's rendition of this one: "Do not set yourself against a man who would do you harm."

"Evil" is "harm", not an attribute of some person, but a certain kind of action which any person might do if they didn't think/feel better about it instead.

Once you've "set yourself against" some man, you're locked into a personal contest for domination, which distracts you from confronting ("facing") him honestly in terms of truth and love.

If you're tuned in to God, in any confrontation, you have a sense of what's going on in the other person and how you're being prompted to respond. You are not required to "win", just to keep the transaction clean on your own end. If you are intending not to harm your opponent, it may not guarantee your own safety but it much improves the chances for a peaceful, sometimes even a friendly, outcome.

You are "to love your neighbor as yourself" because really you are your neighbor, and this is "like" the first commandment because each one of you is a manifestation of God in action... perhaps not manifesting in the best kind of action, but in the process of becoming (in God's time) attuned to God's intentions.
Thanks Forrest . . . for you great wisdom.
many blessings

I've taken this to mean that if we are resisting evil, we are paying too much attention to it. Rather, act for the good, not reactive but fully focused on love, engaging not with evil. As for Wink's lessons, what I love about his stuff is his study about the times, the culture then, the assumptions then, which we do not really think about when we read a passage. He's showing the built-in understandings based on what the customs and assumptions were. I agree with his analysis that Jesus was not trying to teach a passive way - which was antithetical to his lifestyle. He was all about paying attention to and engaging with Love. I think that includes the people we do not agree with. Wink's analysis shows us how the ways Jesus' teaches could engage for change. The passive analysis does not convince me. (And of course 'passive' is different from 'pacifistic'.)
thanks for your input.

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