“Humiliating The Aggressor Through Non-retaliation!”(Lk.7:27-36).
One of the early heresies was that the God of the Old Testament(OT) was not the same God of the New Testament(NT). The argument was that the OT God was a God of wrath, a God of war, whereas the NT God is a God full of love. The NT writers however emphasise that the NT God is the same God of the OT. The God of our salvation is the same God of our creation.
Even today there are Christian groups holding that if all that was prophesied in the OT has been fulfilled in the NT, there is no need going back to the OT.
Agreed that we consider the whole Bible to be a unit, Bible reading is still mostly eclectic in the manner of some ancient philosophers.
One of the OT laws which the Lord Jesus Christ argued against is the Levitical law which orders: “If anyone injured his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so is he to be injured… whoever kills a man must be put to death”(Lev.24:19-21). On his part the Lord said, “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic…if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you…love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”
The Lord Jesus was a great advocate of non-violence and of living by the Golden rule. For Jesus those who live by the sword perish through the sword!
Mahatma Gandhi was another advocate of non-violence. The Holy Bible was among the books that influenced Gandhi. Gandhi owned that he was greatly influenced by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
He too was aware of the OT law of an eye for an eye, but he challenged it stating that “an eye for an eye and half the world goes blind.”
Love conquers everything. Love is the reason for Jesus’ death on the cross. God is love. It is love that makes the world go round. But we cannot love only those who love us. If we love only those who love us, we wouldn’t be any different from those who hate us, because haters also have a circle they love.
Turning the other cheek(Non-retaliation) is not cowardice! It is a show of strength, signaling your opponent that you refuse to combat with him on his terms. Non-retaliation is to tell the opponent, “I decide my weapon, not you!”
More than that, turning the other cheek is to humiliate your aggressor! An aggressor uses the palm to slap your cheek, if you turn the other cheek he has to give you but a backhand slap. In Jesus’ time to use a backhand to slap somebody degraded the slapper more than the slapped person. If you took somebody’s cloak (outer garment), maybe as a pledge, and he insisted that you take the tunic and well, if you took it he will be naked. And when he walked the street naked people will cry out, “Shame on the person who has done this!”
We win more when we refuse to fight our opponents on their terms.
Dear friend, “an eye for an eye, and half the world goes blind!” Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Dear friend, as you step out today just resolve to do just what the Lord Jesus Christ ask you to do!
Weekend prayer: Holy Spirit give me the strength to love my enemies, be good to them and pray for them. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Prayer point: Pray that disciples of Christ should intensify their love for those who hate them.
Rev Babila Fochang.