All too often, our world and our own lives devolve into the bickering shown in Domestic Argument by Gesine ter Borch (1631-1690). We pick up our bottles and canes and begin to flail wildly.
But then we hear Jesus's words from Matthew 5.39 - Do not resist an evildoer.
Perhaps we put down our weapons just long enough to get hit by someone else wielding one. Perhaps we keep them in our hands hoping that Romans 13.4 will save us. We hope that Paul's words that "for the authority does not bear the sword in vain" will let us go right on fighting.
But to do so misses the point. And the translation here does not help. What the NRSV renders as "do not resist" actually means something closer to "do not oppose with violence." Emerson Powery of Messiah College lays that out in a simple way.
Jesus's word's actually call us to resist, but to resist in a different way - by shaming the persecutor:
"But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you."
So this week, pray over how you might resist, without violence, some evil in the world. Perhaps even an evil in your own heart that you choose to treat with compassion rather than hate.
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12.21