“Do not refuse anyone…”

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Matthew 5: 38 (Jesus said) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”

This passage offers massive challenge for me on at least two fronts:

38 (Jesus said) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well…

In essence, Jesus is saying that we are not to directly fight an “evildoer”, but leave it to God to deal with them. This is the path of passive resistance that Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. practiced in their days. If you’re like me, you’ve been taught to stick up for yourself against those who unfairly oppose or malign you. Like I said, this is an extremely challenging teaching. Then there’s another one:

42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”

Yikes! In the church I lead people come in all the time looking for assistance, usually cash. We don’t hand out cash, but we do offer other kinds of non-cash assistance. And, I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s pretty obvious the person asking is trying to support an addiction. Hence, there are times when we refuse assistance. Today’s passage challenges that practice.

Lord Jesus, your teachings are hard sometimes – like today. They run contrary to what we’ve been taught in our secular culture. Give us grace to take your teachings seriously and seek after the ways of your Kingdom. We ask this in your precious name. Amen.

 

 

 

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