What Would Jesus do?

July 9, 2005

07/09/2005

Saturday

In approaching Arwen I have taken several different approaches. I have been confrontational, I have been whiny, I have begged. I have attempted to bargain, trade, coerce and cajole my way into her heart and moreso into her pants.

All of these have resulted in frustration, resentment and failure. Someone on another blog inserted an odd question: What would Jesus do?

If we go to Matthew chapter 5, Jesus spoke of what He believed in the Sermon on the Mount. He said if someone asked you to walk a mile, walk two. If they ask for your coat, give him your shirt as well. If they slap you on one cheek, offer them the other. Love your enemy.

He lived what He spoke on the cross. God was ready to smite the whole city of Jerusalem. But Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

This thinking goes against every instinct we have as human beings. When we are attacked, we want to rise up, defend and the retaliate. As we watch visions of people bloodied by terrorist bombs, we want to retaliate and smite out those who would kill and threaten us and our children. It’s just a natural reaction.

Is it the best reaction? Going off and attacking someone out of anger; is that us at our best? Or maybe we are at our best when we are fearful and defensive. We are ever vigilant, seeking out those who would harm us. We build higher walls, install alarm systems, put in check points, hire more screeners and security.

Clearly our gut reaction serves a purpose at the outset. We do need to be careful in the face of danger and sometimes we need to be aggressive when we are threatened. But these initial and base reactions are not us at our best. We can be consumed by them all too easily.

Loving ones enemies is never easy. We think others will look at us and think we are weak. We believe we will invite more attacks upon us if we turn the other cheek.

Actually, it may be precisely the opposite. We may invite more attacks but it is more because of being strong. Ghandi and Martin Luther King both lead nonviolent resistant movements and both were assissinated…by their own. Ghandi was shot by a fellow Indian Hindu, and MLK by a fellow black. Jesus was essentially turned over by one of his own disciples. To be sure, there may be a very steep price to pay for being nonviolent, but is that any more of a price than being violent and vengeful?

D.