The other day, I listened to a man say the following after he found out that someone had been saying negative things about him: “They thought their words would never get back to me, but I know what they said and who said it. I’m not afraid of anyone but my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so I’m going to fight like crazy against the people who were talking about me.” But if he really feared his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he would not have any intention of fighting back.
It’s amazing to me how most Christians, myself included, often ignore the words of Jesus. One of the most blatant ways in which we do this is in our tendency to fight back and defend ourselves – just like everybody else. Jesus said we are to turn the other cheek when attacked. He said we are to volunteer to walk an extra mile when forced to walk the first one. He said that when someone demands one article of clothing from us, we are to give him that one and offer him another as well.
Some of us will justify acting in the opposite manner by saying that Jesus could not have meant for those commandments to be taken literally. Some will also claim that Jesus does not want His followers to be pushovers and wimps? Really? When did He say that? Show me chapter and verse. When Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and offer more than what someone demands of us, He wasn’t making suggestions. And He didn’t use any ifs, ands, or buts.
Yes, following Jesus is a tough thing. He compares it to taking up a cross. As much as we naturally desire to do otherwise, we must not fight back or defend ourselves. We should be willing to be injured or killed if necessary. Self-defense is a concept that is foreign to Jesus’ teaching. He went like lamb to the slaughter. We must be willing to be robbed blind. Concern for worldly possessions is something that Jesus warned us about over and over. Our treasures are in heaven and cannot be taken away from us.
When someone sues us for $100,000, for example, we should not seek to settle the suit for less than what they are asking. Instead, we should seek to settle it by paying them $200,000. How many Christians would do that? I can’t think of any that I know. But that’s what we are supposed to be doing. You might argue that this is not practical. So what? Jesus is not concerned with practicality. He is concerned with obedience. As Christians, it is our job to obey without question or rationalization, and not worry about the consequences that might follow.