RE: [asa] Was Jesus wrong? (Resist evil?)

From: Jon Tandy <tandyland@earthlink.net>
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 23:53:05 EDT

You get an A, Christine, IMHO. If we are to make Jesus' words to be legalistic requirements to be required for following to the letter regardless of the Spirit and wisdom, we have missed the point. That doesn't mean we should dismiss them lightly as being too hard to follow, but the condition of the heart is everything; as well, there is a great deal of wisdom in these admonitions, so I think it is more than a little chutzpah for any of us to suggest that Jesus was wrong.

Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Christine Smith
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 10:29 PM
To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] Was Jesus wrong? (Resist evil?)

Hi all,

I puzzled over this passage too for quite awhile. And then I noticed something in the context that I think (at least for me) explains better what Jesus is getting at. I think the key to understanding this is Matthew 5:20 "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." This verse is then followed by a series of examples structured in the following format: "You have heard that <Jesus quotes the law>> But I say to you <Jesus says to go beyond the law>. The examples are as follows: do not kill vs. do not even be angry, do no commit adultery vs. do not even look at a person lustfully, do not divorce unless a certificate is given vs. do not divorce, do not swear falsely vs. do not swear at all, only take an eye for an eye vs. do not take at all, love your neighbor vs. love everyone including your enemies. After all of these illustrations, the discourse then moves into Chp. 6 which continues to draw!
  contrasts between what Christ would have His disciples do and what another group does, in this case the "hypocrites".

I think Jesus' point here is not so much about the specifics of each example (i.e. passive resistance to violence), but about the relationship between the law and righteousness. What Jesus is getting at is that yes, its' important we follow the law (indeed, he came to fulfill it!), but if we truly want to be disciples, we can't be satisfied with merely following the law; we must go beyond it. This is the mark of true discipleship. He is saying, so to speak, that we shouldn't just skate by with a C average, we should be striving for an A+ average, because our "heavenly Father is perfect".

Hope this helps :)

In Christ,
Christine

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" ~II Corinthians 5:7

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--- On Tue, 6/30/09, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:

> From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
> Subject: [asa] Was Jesus wrong? (Resist evil?)
> To: "asa@calvin.edu" <asa@calvin.edu>
> Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 12:07 PM
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> I wrote previously about something that Jesus taught that I thought
> was wrong (imminent return of Christ… let’s not debate that again).
> I thought of another, and would like
> feedback.
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> Jesus taught that we should "turn
> the other cheek;" walk 2
> miles if asked to walk 1 mile by an enemy; and give whatever a thief
> asks for, plus give them even more.
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> Scripture
> reference:
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> Matthew
> 5:38-41
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> An Eye for an
> Eye
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> 38"You have heard
> that it was said, 'Eye
> for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[a] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an
> evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him
> the other also.
> 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have
> your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with
> him two miles.
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> When my oldest child was in school as a first grader, and getting
> picked-on, I tried to apply this advice to her. Also teaching "don't
> repay evil for evil." Instead- I told her to inform the teacher. But
> I think the teachers want the kids to learn how to get along, so they
> don't interfere much.
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> So it seems the best advice is
> this:
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> 1. If a person is hurting you, ask them to stop.
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> 2. If they don't stop, try to get
> away.
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> 3. If you can't get away, you can
> hurt them to show self-defense.
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> It seems like this advice works, whereas Jesus' advice fails.
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> I also remember one time I was a kid and bullied someone else.
> They hit me in the eye, and it shocked (and surprised) me, and also
> wised me up. If they would have 'turned the other cheek' I wouldn't
> have learned to stop bullying, and would have likely been a bigger
> bully.
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> Thoughts?
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> Yes- the other idea about forgiving
> others instead of getting revenge
> is great advice, but I have an issue with how we should treat bullies.
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> BTW- This also applies to the community level of the behavior of
> nations (dealing with Israelis/Palestinians, Iran , and North Korea ).
> Also- this topic relates to the social sciences of psychology and
> philosophy (I know someone would ask what this has to do with ASA).
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> I know that famous atheist Christopher Hitchens always rails against
> this passage (Hitchens loves the idea of killing your enemies). I’m
> more middle-ground, seeing some good applications in the passage but
> also seeing a part that doesn’t work. The main thing I think Jesus
> got wrong was this part “Do not resist an evil person.” In fact-
> there’s another non-biblical saying which I think is better “All
> that’s necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”
> They are opposite teachings. Apply it to Hitler- Jesus, if living on
> Earth while Hitler ruled, would seemingly suggest not opposing Hitler.
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Received on Tue Jun 30 23:53:51 2009

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