Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Like a sponge.

For the last 5-6 months a number of my fellow parishioners have been meeting and discussing the Gospel of Matthew. Last Sunday the pericope was Matthew 5:38-42:

38 ‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Our group had a very interesting discussion about what that passage means for us; both ideological and practical. How much does one resist? Can one resist ones government if they are doing evil? Should one expect that by following this instruction of Jesus that we can show others the faith or should we just expect possible abuse -- even possible death? The leader of our discussion had a wonderful analogy: we are to be like a sponge that absorbs hatred, anger, etc, and by doing so stops its energy/movement.

As an example, please listen to this.

Mr. Diaz is a good, practical example of what Christians ought to do. Did he fear for his life? I'm sure he did. Could he have been knifed? Most assuredly. But he risked it because even his attacker is created in the image of God and is worthy of this sacrifice. I pray that I would be even half as courageous as Mr. Diaz.


  1. Where does Christ say that we should not resist evil done to others? See here.

    I am far more concerned about how we are supposed to react as Christians when evil is done to others, than when it is done to us.

  2. I read the linked article. Yes, Mr. Diaz is absolutely right-on. That is absolutely Christ-like, and not everyone would do that. Good for him and God be praised that there are people like this in the world. That singular act of compassion may turn this kid's life around.

    But let us suppose that Mr. Diaz saw this kid robbing someone else. Would Mr. Diaz have attempted to forcibly stop the robber? Not everyone would do this, either.

    My point is that forcibly stopping evil done to others is just as morally praiseworthy as not resisting that same evil done to oneself, even if the evildoer is injured or - in extreme cases - even killed as a result.