Have you ever read Mathew 5:39, and thought, “no way Jesus meant that literally.” To let someone hit you a second time and do nothing about it seems insane. To give a thief more than what they are stealing is just loony. Isn’t it? Yes, by the conventional wisdom, that is insane. Bust since when did Jesus follow the conventional wisdom?
St. Paul says in Romans 12:21, “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” You see what both Jesus and Paul are saying is that you cannot fight evil with evil. To do an evil act, even with good intentions, is still evil.
The world is a very small place, and we are all interconnected. What happens to one of us can and will affect all of us. Have you ever heard of the 6 degrees of separation? It’s the idea that everyone is linked to everyone by six or less people. For example, my friend knows so and so, who knows whoever, and we go on down the chain till it comes to the Queen of England. In 2007 a professor at Columbia University sort of proved the theory, only it was seven people instead of six.
The point I am getting at is that the world is a much smaller place than you can imagine, and what happens to us has ripple effects that effect all of us. You’ve heard that no man is an island? Well it’s true. So if one person is in pain, it hurts us all in the long run.
This brings me around to the idea of karma. That what you put out will come back to you. Now I’m not supporting this as a formal doctrine or a physical law, don’t get me wrong. For the most part, however, you do reap what you sow. If you cause pain in others, it will hurt those around them, and so on until it comes back to you.
What Jesus is telling us to do is the break the chain of suffering. When you turn the other cheek you are breaking the cycle. Christ inside you is absorbing that pain instead of passing it on.
You can see this most dramatically on the cross. Jesus, an innocent man, was beaten and nailed to a piece of wood and left to die. He, of all people, could have stopped them. He could have killed them with a single thought, or summoned legions of angels to slaughter them. Even after the resurrection He does not seek revenge or send His followers to avenge Him. No, He suffered, and through His suffering we are all healed.
I know this is a radical way of looking at things. No mainstream denomination teaches that we should not defend ourselves when attacked. We have to look to our Amish brothers to find that sort of teaching. We even have rules for a “just” war.
Do not let evil overcome you. Evil does not overcome you by stealing from you, or physically hurting you. It overcomes you when you do evil. Even more so when you do it and feel you did the “just” thing. No, as followers of Christ we must fight evil with good. Let Jesus be our master. He let them nail Him to the cross, and He prayed for them. He forgave them as they were doing it. Can you imagine it?
This is how the world will be saved. When we take the teachings of Jesus, no matter how hard they may be, and start living them.