In the news this morning was a moving photo of a man carrying another wounded man on his shoulders. Each man was on opposite sides of a protest. This powerful image speaks beautifully and poignantly the teaching of Jesus in today’s gospel from the Sermon on the amount. He makes it abundantly clear that an “eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” mentality will get us nowhere since violence will continue to dominate. A response of violence is never the answer.
Gandhi famously said, “An eye for an eye will make everyone blind,” making it clear that violence can never be a response that reconciles and brings peace. Jesus is elevating the standard of our morality by challenging our need for vengeance when we have been wronged. He teaches us further that we are not to resist one who does us evil.
“Turning the other cheek,” is not a call to be a doormat for someone else’s mistreatment, but a nonviolent response forcing the aggressor to think about his unjust actions. But even more, turning the other cheek says, “You May have the power over my body because you are in a position of power, BUT you will not have power over my spirit.”
Nonviolence...turning the other cheek...don’t resist one who does evil.... is this way of living even possible?