Friday, 5 April 2013

An eye for an eye?

I am sure that we all know the passage from Matthew's gospel very well, but have we considered the whole passage? There are 5 instructions in the passage:
  1. Do not resist an evil person;
  2. Turn to him the other [cheek] also;
  3. Let him have your cloak as well;
  4. Go with him 2 miles;
  5. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
The whole passage is in the context of dealing with evil people. Don't resist, do what they want, don't fight back, give them what they want. In other words, we reject the instinct and expectations of our society, we reject our 'human rights', we reject the Fight/Flight reponse, and we take God's way.

So how does this fit with the response of some Christians when they are told, for example, to remove crosses by their employers? Does taking them to court to fight for your rights fit with this passage, with Jesus's words?

Jesus is telling us that when we are persecuted we should do what they want, without fuss, without drama. Actually he is telling us we should do more than what the evil person has asked for.

We are counter-cultural, and our culture says "sue!" How can we show we are different if we follow the world's way? We need to be showing the world we have a different way, a better way.

I know it is out of context, as Paul was talking about believers taking each other to court, but in 1 Corinthians 5 v 7 he says:

"Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?"


PS I am not applying this to how we deal with poverty and injustice. That is the church standing up for the poor, the weak, the disenfranchised, the oppressed, for those outside the church who need help. Jesus here is talking about how we personally respond to personal persecution. Which is, of course, the same way he responded when he was persecuted at the Cross.

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