“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-42)
This teaching of Jesus’ is hard for us to understand. It goes against the grain, runs counter to everything that seems natural to us. If someone wants to hurt you, or take away what is yours, or take you to court, it is surely only right to resist? But the truth is, that we often just end up hurting both ourselves and the other, and nothing changes.
Jesus is teaching us “soft power”. The more we stall, and bridle, the more we fight back, the more power the other has over us. As we ‘kill with kindness’, wearing our forbearance lightly and going the extra mile (or two), we are smothering our enemy with love, giving them no purchase on us. And in the process both them and we are transformed.