“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.” – Martin Luther King
Listen to my song “Mercy Reigns” on YouTube.
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.”
I love this teaching of Jesus because it confounds the human mind.
People seem to be hardwired to divide people into the good and the bad.
Then it seems okay to be harsh to the ones who are bad as determined, of course, by the person judging themselves to be good!
You also practically never hear anyone cite this scripture verse because we have such a hard time dealing with it.
Most would rather ignore it.
People love to quote scriptures to defend their positions on issues but they tend to forget that, for Christians, Jesus is the bottom line.
In Matthew’s version of today’s passage, Jesus begins by specifically nullifying the Old Testament’s “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
But Jesus is not telling you to cower or run away.
He’s advocating standing up to the oppressor non-violently.
A Roman soldier was permitted to strike you once with the back of his hand, but if you then turned your other cheek to him, you would be forcing him to do what he is not permitted to do: strike you with his open hand.
A Roman oppressor was also permitted to take your cloak.
But if you then turned over your tunic, it would be a public embarrassment for that oppressor.
Jesus always called his followers to take action on behalf of the least of these (Matthew 25:40), but he also called us to love first and foremost (Matthew 22:36-39).
Loving your enemies would force you to look for ways other than violence in dealing with differences.
In every circumstance, no matter how difficult, what if we asked ourselves before acting: “What is the most loving response?”
Listen to the song of the day “Mercy Reigns” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.
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Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Remember: God loves you!