Advent Day 17 of 50: Resist Not Evil
On this Advent Journey we reach a major hurdle which will also be a milestone for us. Jesus’ command to not resist evil is one of the most difficult statements to digest because inherently we wish to fight and eliminate evil. For this reason, it is a hurdle, and it is a milestone in our journey because so much rests on our acceptance of this commandment.
Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to 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 away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”
Before placing this into the category of weakness, pull out your Advent journals and refer to the lessons on harnessed energy, the discipline that turns our inner strength into focused power. The night that Jesus was born the heavenly hosts proclaimed, “Peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14) The Will of God is proclaimed for all of humanity with the birth of Jesus Christ. For there to be peace, the Prince of Peace advocates for nonviolent resistance to evil. It is the only solution and the only means of bringing about Peace.
The common misconception then, in the time of Jesus, as well as now, is that violence and more evil brings about peace. Mathematically we can formulate this as a + a = -a. It is just as absurd in theory as it is in practice.
Thinkers have pondered these words of Jesus for centuries and have argued pro and con to the subject. Heavyweights like Tolstoy have written volumes on the subject, as well as non-Christians, such as Gandhi have patterned the plan for liberation on nonviolent resistance. Third world countries, liberation theology and of course the Civil Rights movement in America have used Jesus’ teaching as a foundation and model on the path to equality and justice. According to Gandhi, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” to which Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. added, “If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.”
We’re not through with the topic. It is the foundation for Jesus’ life and ministry. For today, let us pray a prayer offered by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.: O God, make us willing to do your will, come what may. Increase the number of persons of good will and moral sensitivity. Give us renewed confidence in nonviolence and the way of love as taught by Christ. Amen.