38 “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 the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”
Do not resist an evil person. What does Jesus mean here? It feels very personal when I see or experience an evil or unjust person, but God says that is His job to make wrong things right. “I will avenge, it is mine to repay,” says the Lord. It is not my role to retaliate or give back just as good as I’ve been given. No. In fact, Jesus says that I am to go further – I am to repay evil with kindness, give more when I’m robbed, walk further than I am forced. I am to give to everyone who asks of me, and always lend when someone needs to borrow from me.
Why do I feel the need to repay evil? Because I would be views as a wimp or a pushover if I just stand there and take it. Because I “deserve” better. Because I would be taken advantage of! No one takes advantage of me!! There is a deep need for respect, for justice, for fairness, and for being vindicated in my heart. I can’t stand by and let someone walk all over someone else, and especially if they want to walk all over me. “Not so,” Jesus says.
Why does Jesus want me to do this? No only is He showing me how impossible it is to fulfill God’s law by human effort, but He is showing me that He will fulfill this law on the cross. People took advantage of Him, people forgave those who beat and crucified Him, He loved the robbers who took His clothes, He walked all the way to Golgatha with a cross on His back. Jesus died so I can love my enemies. Not only His example, but he empowers my will to fight sin (Philippians 2:10-14).
How do I apply this? Seek out humility. Pray for it. Serve those who wrong me. Stop defending myself, my rights, my possessions. Give to those who ask and those in need. Actively fight sin, even when I’m in the right and someone is sinning against me.
Are there evil people in my life now? Is anyone persecuting me? Is anyone taking anything from me or asking to borrow from me? Be on the lookout to give generously. This world and this life are just a breath. How I live and give and love can lead people to Jesus? Let me ensure and suffer and love and give in such a way that it saves people for Jesus.