Another interesting topic that has been on my mind thanks to the Jesus for President book is how I respond (or how I should respond) to hostility or the like.
Here is a passage from that book (I really hope this isn’t copyright infringement or anything):
In response to Jesus’ teaching of ‘turning the other cheek’ as found in Matthew 5: 38-42, “Author and professor Walter Wink… points out that Jesus was not suggesting that we let people sadistically step all over us. Jesus taught enemy love with imagination… Jesus points us toward disarming others. Jesus teaches us to refuse to oppose evil on its own terms. He invites us to transcend both passivity and violence through a third way.
When hit on the cheek, turn and look the person in the eye (v. 39). In the orderly Jewish culture, a person would hit someone only with the right hand… In some Jewish communities, if you hit someone with the left hand, you could be banished for 10 days. So a person would have to use a backslap to hit someone on the right cheek with the right hand. It’s clear that Jesus described a backhand, like and abusive husband to a wife or a master to a slave. It was a slap to insult, degrade, and humiliate, a slap meant not for an equal but for an inferior, to put someone in their place. But by turning the cheek, the person made the abuser look them in the eye, and the abuser could now only hit them with a fist, as an equal. By turning the cheek, the other person said, ‘I am a human being, made in the image of God, and you cannot destroy that.’ Do not cower and do not punch back. Make sure the person looks into your eyes and sees your sacred humanity, and it will become increasingly harder for that person to hurt you.”
This passage goes on to discuss “When someone drags you before the court to sue you for the coat off your back”, and “When someone makes you walk a mile with them”.
We are advised to ” Look into the eyes of the ones who are hardest for you to like, and see the One you love. For God loves good and bad people.”
I haven’t finished this book, but I’ve had it from my roommate for far too long without completing it so I’m giving it back! So (when I have some money) it is on my list of books to order. This book is definately worth the read, it is written for the average person (not the theologian), and uses an enjoyable format.