Exactly to what degree should we not resist evil people? Great question.
Hi, welcome to Little Lesson. This is another special Cuba edition coming to you from the Central Cuban city of Camaguey in a 200-year-old home here that you can stay overnight for $20 a room. Quite an amazing price for such a neat place.
Anyways, we’re talking about Jesus’ instructions about not resisting evil, and some have made this a major doctrinal point within their theology, and it actually defines them within a certain segment of Christianity who are real big on non-resistance. Bless their hearts. You know, they’re trying their hardest to follow Jesus. I don’t want to be critical. I admire anyone who’s trying to follow Jesus, but I just think it’s important to read every verse within the context, the greater context of the Bible.
When you are operating under the standard premise that Jesus upended morality and raised the standards of morality that we find under the Law of Moses to a much higher standard, that he expects everyone to live up to today, then you’re apt to err in interpreting these statements, the six that we’re looking at in Matthew:5 where Jesus said, “You have heard that I say to you.” It’s becoming very clear as we’re working our way through these, we’ve gone through four, now we’re in the fifth one of the six, that Jesus was not correcting himself. He was the giver of the Law of Moses.
He wasn’t changing morality, wasn’t raising the standard, raising the bar. He was correcting the perverted teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees, and that’s also very clear in this case because it was God who set up the court system in Israel. It was God who said, and rightly said to those judges, “An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Don’t show partiality. Administer perfect justice. Make sure people reap what they sow.”
And so, if someone murders someone, capital punishment is in order. Their life should also be forfeited, and that of course is justice, but it also is a deterrent to other potential murderers when they realize, “If I kill somebody, I should be digging two graves here.” Okay?
So, we’ve covered that a little bit in the last Little Lesson. This is from Matthew:5 and Verse 38, Jesus said, “You have heard it said an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, but I say to you don’t resist an evil person.” Then He begins to define the kind of evil people that He’s speaking of, and He’s not speaking of the kind of evil that would lead someone to court, okay? We’re going to see these three examples of minor infractions, annoyances, disturbances by obnoxious and selfish people that you don’t take them to court for these kinds of offenses. Rather, you give them the opportunity to do twice the offense that they intended, and so that’s very helpful in determining what kinds of evil people should we or should we not resist.
Because the folks who have taken this one verse and isolated it from the entire rest of the Bible, which makes it very clear that there are appropriate times to take someone else’s life like if you’re a judge, and you find someone guilty of murder, it’s okay. Not only is it okay, it’s right that you would say, “You must forfeit your life because you took a life, and so that’s just. That’s fair, and that’s the consequence.”
When some people would say, “Well, do not resist evil so it’s wrong for any Christian to be a policeman,” yet the New Testament teaches that policemen and those who bear the sword are ministers of God because there’s no authority except from God. Then some Christians say, “No Christian should be a judge in the court system because then you’re resisting evil,” you’re way out of the Bible now. Way out of the Bible.
I could show you examples where Paul, the Apostle Paul resisted evil, now not with violence of course, but he definitely went against the bad guys when they were doing things against him like unjustly putting him in prison and about to whip him without a trial, and so forth. He stood up and he resisted evil people. Jesus resisted evil people. He’s the guy who fashioned a whip and then went into the temple and started overturning the tables of the money changers, and whacking people with the whip.
So the whole non-violent message needs a second thought here. These folks have decided that of course all war is wrong, self-defense is wrong, defending the helpless is wrong, yet the Bible is full of admonitions. Everyone knows within their conscience that we’re supposed to defend the helpless, right? And that sometimes requires force, and no greater love is any man than this than he lay down his life for his friend. Well, if he’s laying down his life literally dying defending somebody, that’s resisting evil, and no greater love is any man than that, okay?
So let’s put it in a Biblical respect rather than taking one verse out of its context and saying, “Here’s what the Bible says and so that’s why I am against war and I’m against judges and I’m against policemen.” Oh my goodness. What kind of people did Jesus talk about? He’s talking about people that slap you on the cheek, or sue you for some minor little thing, and they’re trying to take your shirt, or someone who’s a Roman soldier who says, “Walk with me a mile and carry my bag.”
These are the everyday offenses that occur as a result of living in a world full of selfish people, and we’re supposed to shame them by turning the other cheek, giving them our coat when they sue us for our shirt, and going a second mile. Now that again helps us determine who we should resist and who we should not resist.
When someone comes to your home and says, “I’m going to kill your, I’m going to rape your wife,” did Jesus want you to say, “Oh well, Jesus said I should give you twice the opportunity. Okay, so, here, take my wife and take my daughter also.” Is that what you’re supposed to do? Amazingly, some very foolish people would actually say, “Yes, because that’s what Jesus said.” Well, I got news for you. Jesus wrote the whole Bible, okay? And there’s times to go to war, yeah, and there are times to defend the helpless, and there are times to stand up, and there’s times to resist evil.
Oh yeah, but in these cases, where the Scribes and Pharisees were saying someone slaps me on the cheek and so the Bible tells us eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and so I’m going to slap that person on the other cheek, no, no, no. God never intended that. Remember, we’ve already talked about this and we’ll talk about this more in our next Little Lesson. God is good to people who don’t deserve it. Amen. Okay, out of time for today. Hope to see you next time. God bless you.