AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #9
- Resist Not Evil – Go the Second Mile
“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38–42).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Again, a teaching of Jesus seems counterintuitive and can test the soul of even the most dedicate man or woman. It is difficult to understand – unless you are willing.
At first glance, this teaching sounds as if a disciple of Jesus is to stand idly by while an evil person slaps you about and perpetrates all kinds of evil to you and in your presence.
Some have even dubbed this teaching as “the law of non-resistance”. It from this teaching that some call themselves “conscientious objectors”.
There are other examples and times when it seems Jesus teaches the contrary, such as, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6
Or, Jesus’ own example, at times, contradicts the “law of non-resistance”, such as when He turned over tables and whipped the money changers in the Temple.
But, again, context is everything.
FIRST, Jesus is telling us not to entangle ourselves in the affairs of evil men, even when they cast their evil upon us. Instead, stay focused on Jesus’ Mission while actively responding to evil, by overcoming evil with good.
SECONDLY, God’s Word and methods are an intricate balance of mercy and justice, something we rarely see anymore. Once you have “paid the debt” of forgiveness and kindness, do not linger. If an evil person continues in his or her evil ways, “Shake the dust off your sandals”, so to speak, and move on.
James teaches this principal and its practice when he says, “7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
A simple example of the law of “spiritual physics” is helpful. Do this exercise with a friend:
- Stand face-to-face, within an arm’s length from one another.
- Each person should extend their arm until your hands meet halfway between one another. (AN IMAGINARY LINE IS NOW DRAWN BETWEEN THE TWO PEOPLE. THE PLACE WHERE YOUR HANDS MEET IS THE “LINE OF AGREEMENT”)
- Each person needs to slowly, at first, apply a forward pressure pushing on the other’s hand palm, as if you are trying to push your opponent away. We will call this meeting of the palm of your hands the “LINE OF AGREEMENT” and you are metaphorically imposing your will on your opponent.
- Increase the pushing pressure as your opponent pushes back, trying to PUSH THEIR WAY into your space, imposing their will on you.
- One person, suddenly jerk your hand back toward yourself. This will cause your “opponent” to fall forward and suddenly find themselves ON YOUR SIDE of the “ARGUMENT”
Thus, the principal of “Spiritual Physics: RESIST NOT EVIL.
Now, it is your turn:
HOW MUST YOU DO IT? _________________________________________
HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT? _____________________________________
This takes effort on the Believer’s part, both of spiritual disciplines and the effort of practical application. But in the end, you have become a peacemaker and demonstrated
that you are a Child of God, a disciple of the King.
Your Brother and Friend,