On Tuesday night at Barnett’s Pub, our Bible study focused on two passages: Matthew 5:43-48 and Micah 4:1-5. Let’s just clear the air – what God is calling us to in these passages is not supposed to be easy. Being perfect as our heavenly father is perfect, loving our enemies, praying for our persecutors, beating our swords into plowshares are not easy tasks.
But they are holy tasks.
What shocked me most about Tuesday night was the incredible resistance to these ideas. There were questions about our rights and a desire to protect those. There were arguments that we should protect our lives and the lives of our loved ones. There were questions about resisting evil. And still, in all of these, Jesus still says to his followers, “Peace I give to you, my own peace I leave with you.”
So Jesus is still making people mad. Thanks be to God.
As Christians, we must address a few fallacies. First, who ever came up with this language about our rights? Was it Jesus? No, of course it wasn’t. Jesus doesn’t care about our rights, Jesus just cares that we live a holy life. Jesus didn’t write the First Amendment, Jesus said to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
Resisting evil with force only creates more violence and continual cycles of evil. When good confronts evil, it must stretch out its arms upon the hard wood of the cross, and allow evil to do its work. Because in the end, evil has no power over life or death. God has power over life and death. Good Friday doesn’t end with death, but with an empty tomb.
Will living nonviolently cost us our lives? Probably so. But Jesus says those who lose their lives for his sake will find it. Thanks be to God there is a resurrection of the dead.