Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” Mt 5:38-42
I find this passage hard to reconcile sometimes. As a matter of fact, I have been meditating on this one very hard, and very long this week. It was a daily Mass reading not too long ago, and I could not for the life of me figure it out. I believe this is God’s way of trying to slow me down, and give me a challenge. He knows me so well, that I am going to ponder this until I figure out what He is trying to give to me.
At the time this lesson was given, it was such a radical notion. The way the laws were, life was setup in a retaliation type spirit. Oh, you stole from me, I take your hand. That was the rule of law, and life was harsh in that respect. To have someone come to you and say, hey, maybe that is not the real route to go, wow, I can imagine that people’s mind were blown. He was principally saying, let go of that anger, no matter what has been done to you, because anger is toxic. Love will prevail, if you can stop yourself and let go of that anger.
So, I still had a very hard time with this even today. For me, personally, letting go of pent up anger towards someone is hard sometimes. I have written about finally letting that go before. My natural instinct is to come back at someone in a spiteful way. I have to “get back” at them, and make them feel the exact same hurt they have made me feel. This passage is saying, very clearly, no good can come of that. If someone hurts you to the core, your very essence, you have to still let that go, and strive to be good to them. Getting that concept and playing it out in real life is a struggle. It is not something that comes natural in all cases. It really comes down to knowing when these instances occur, stopping myself in the moment, and really just trying to get back to the choice of love with that person, or thing, or whatever the case may be. If I hold on to it, it is mine, if I let it go, and give it up to God, it is not mine anymore. I will keep praying that I will get better at this, as with everything, I am still a Catholic in training.