“If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” (Luke 6:29-30, NIV)
If someone ever set out to suggest doing things that were completely unnatural for humans, they couldn’t come up with any worse list than this one.
What do you do if someone strikes you on one cheek? You sue them. How about if they take your cloak? Hire a lawyer. When they ask you for something? Question whether or not they deserve it. If they take what belongs to you? Call the cops.
Jesus says, “No!” to all those things. They may be very natural. They may be very American. They are not very godly.
Let’s be plain here. Revenge and greed and materialism are what Jesus is combating here. So listen up!
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21, NIV)
God’s way is plain. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. No revenge. No greedy hoarding. No holding back good from those in need.
In Paul’s words: “…overcome evil with good.” In Jesus’ – this is Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
That’s how you love. How you love those who love you. How you love those who hate you. Same kind of love for everyone. Go and do likewise.
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