When Jackie Robinson was being recruited to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, manager Branch Rickey pressed him on whether Robinson could take three years of abuse without retaliating. Robinson finally asked, “Mr. Ricky, are you looking for a negro who is afraid to fight back?” To which Rickey said, “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.”
Matthew 5:38-42 says “But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go the second…”
As one writer said, “This passage has become the basis for systematic training in cowardice, as Christians are taught to acquiesce to evil.”
But Jesus was no coward. And he does say something about the gates of hell not being able to stand up to the forces of good that presumably are storming the gates. So what does he mean?
We’ll talk about that this Sunday – and we’ll explore just how is it that Jesus’ followers can stand up to evil without becoming the very things we are standing against. Jesus shows his disciples how to rob the Powers of their power by recovering the dignity and humanity of those more accustomed to being used and ignored.
It’s a tall order. Maybe that’s why there aren’t too many Jackie Robinsons.