Friday, March 6, 2009

Do not oppose an evil person... eh???

This is part of my message that I am bringing tomorrow for the Church. :)

Mathew 5:38-39 "....But I tell you not to oppose an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn your other cheek to him as well.

When Jesus says “I tell you, don’t oppose an evil person.” It’s not to be taken literally. But I think we should look at other scriptures to get the full meaning..

We’re told to stay away from evil or rotten people in our society. In Ephesians 5 it says “Have nothing to do with them.” We are also called to resist Satan in James 4:7
But Jesus said “Don’t oppose an evil person”. What’s the deal??

If Hitler II came, and decided that he would have a crack at world domination – does that mean we don’t oppose him? We just sit there quietly? When the terrorist bombed the World Trade Center, would it have been more Godly, to just let that slide?

In Romans 13:4 talks about the government’s God-ordained duty to “bear the sword” both for national protection and as punishment for those who are doing the wrong thing.

The “Do not oppose an evil person” doesn’t apply to self-defense

Jesus knew about and approved the swords the disciples had armed themselves with, just before he was arrested. He didn't ban them - he wanted the disciples to be able to protect themeselves.

I don’t believe God wants a woman to lay back and allow a man to rape her – because she doesn’t want to oppose the evil man. I don’t believe God wants a man to allow a thief into his home and pose a threat to his wife and children, because he is going to be a shining light to this thief and “not oppose the evil person”. I don’t believe a child should have to be bullied physically because that’s what God wants – because Jesus taught him or her not to oppose an evil person.

I want to draw your attention to domestic violence for a moment.

You are not being more godly by not opposing the person who is abusing you. A few months ago, I briefly spoke about boundaries. It is perfectly acceptable to set boundaries to protect yourself, and then if the boundaries are crossed, appropriate consequences follow. In case of violence, I always say, if you are being hurt, get away from the person immediately. I’ve spoken to women who are frightened to leave – and I say “What if this last whack is your last? And it kills you?” God did not put us on this earth to be victims because of a literal translation.

If someone is hurting you, it’s ok for you to defend yourself, appropriately. If someone is threatening you, it’s ok to take action and get the police involved. If you are being abused, it’s perfectly ok for you to pack up and leave. God does not want you to ever be a victim of abuse. You are not being a good example of Salt and Light by allowing people to abuse you.

Another thing that is taken literally with this section of scripture is the physical slap on the cheek. But Jesus was actually referring to being insulted. Ever been insulted? Was it like being slapped? You feel yourself reel. The pain you feel is sharp and then you will sting for a while afterwards. You may even bruise if the insult was “hard” enough.

What Jesus meant is that we can be Salt in our world if we just don’t respond to insults.
Remember what your parents would say?
“Daaaaad? Charlie is picking on me!!!”
‘Oh just ignore him and he will go away”

What happens when we DO respond? It just gets bigger and worse.
We are a better witness if we just shut our traps and just let it go. Turn the other cheek.

Jesus is asking you to raise the standard by how you respond.

Dear Lord,
Help me to remember to respond to negativity, criticism and nastiness with love and grace. Help me control my tongue in times that try me. I pray that I will be a good witness to the work you have done in my life, by being silent when I am insulted. I want to be just like you. Help me remember that when I am fired up and riled over an injustice against me.


1 comment:

Donna said...

Thank you Skip. I had often wondered about that message. Our pastor explained it to us and I did understand it but reading your message has cemeted its meaning for me.

There have been many times now and especially recently that I have felt the power of turning the other cheek. I see my oponents bury themselves in hate while I manage to rise above it and move on.

Fantastic message!!


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