The power of resisting evil …non violently. That’s what we were talking about in Matthew 5:38-43 yesterday. We looked at the “turn the other cheek” passage exploring what those words may have meant to Jesus audience. I proposed Jesus’ statements were designed to resist the power of humanity’s evil in bold, creative, non violent strategies.
One of the things I couldn’t deal with yesterday is the role that a sort of “holy anger” can or should play in creative resistance. Gandhi was quick to say that he couldn’t train a coward to respond non- violently. He could train a fight to resist, but he couldn’t work with a coward. Cowards just didn’t care enough to win. So when the dogs were unleashed, or the British troops opened fire, cowards would just run. But people with a heart for seeing the injustice fall would stand their ground.
To resist evil you first have to care about evil not winning. This is what stops a lot of us it seems to me. We don’t have a dog in this race. The injustices done to undocumented workers isn’t affecting me with my US birth certificate. The shaming of single moms doesn’t pause my dinner preparations. And I have to force myself to consider the challenges of being Palestinian right now.
You get the picture. I’m (generally speaking) not upset about as many things as I suspect Jesus is upset about. And therein lies the problem.
“The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel said. It rings true even in its overuse. It seems more important than ever that one of our first daily prayers is simply to care about the things God cares about. Nothing too flashy there. Just an earthly agreement with heaven. Perhaps what Jesus meant behind the “on earth as it is in heaven” refrain in the Lord’s prayer.
A good resource to get you thinking about this further is Walter Wink’s masterful “Naming the Powers” series. Three volumes. All written about 30 years ago. All amazing. Still.