To Resist or Not to Resist?
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:39
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.s Mark 11:15-15
When one resists evil, suffering is an inevitable consequence of the resistance. To avoid suffering is to avoid resistance, and that leaves evil unchallenged.
- James Cone, God of the Oppressed (1975)
Listen carefully to Jesus’s teaching and listen carefully to his life. How do you make sense out of him saying not to resist an evil person and yet we see him resisting so many evil people taking advantage of the poor in the temple courts?
Then ponder the keen insight of James Cone, who was well aware of the costs of fighting for civil rights and for the equal treatment of African Americans in theological circles. What sort of resistance are you participating in, if any? How do you seek to avoid suffering? Do these thoughts affect how you answer the previous questions about Jesus’s teaching and actions?
Sit with these things, whether they bring you comfort or discomfort, challenge or hope. Allow God to speak to you today.