“Do Not Resist an Evildoer”
Forgive our desire to explain away these very hard words, O Lord.
Give us the grace to accept them and the strength to live them.
At the heart of these challenging words of Jesus seems to be the idea that we who are followers of his are called to move beyond a focus on what others would take from us to a more radical focus on what we can give to others. Our desire to give, to offer, to share, and to sacrifice is to extend even to those who would and do take from us and make demands of us.
Perhaps we really are supposed to overcome evil with good, to overcome taking with giving, to overcome aggression with nonviolent resistance, and to overcome demands with offers.
It is likely that all of us praying this prayer have a long way to go, O Lord, so help us to make a little progress today; after all, a little bit of this kind of grace, especially as it shows itself in our attitudes and actions toward our enemies, will go a long, long way in this old world.
“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 evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.” (Matthew 5:38-41)