Do Not Resist an Evil Person

But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also . . . .
—Matthew 5:39 (NRSV)

How do you respond to someone who does not behave as a Christian ought to behave, whether they are or are not a fellow Christian? The easy answer is to quote Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount, “turn the other cheek.” The difficulty lies in the reality that this teaching is easier said than done.

While we are to love others and treat them as we would like to be treated, we cannot assume that they will respond in kind. With enough life experience, most people can testify that the world is full of those who do not love others and will not treat others the way that they would like to be treated.

Accepting this reality is the first step in being able to turn the other cheek when someone spites you. Whether it is a literal strike against your cheek, an emotional attack, or some other slight against you or your person, you can learn to turn the other cheek and respond in such a way that you emulate Christ’s teachings of love and treat others the way you would like to be treated. When evil people, or those whose behavior is evil, reveal themselves to you, be encouraged to resist them, knowing that you can only control your own behavior. As a follower of Christ, you are taught to love those people and treat them as you want to be treated. Avoid malice, avoid vengeance, and remember that you may be the only example of Christ’s love that they may see today or even this week.

This post originally appeared as the March 16 devotion in A Daily Walk with God by Christopher J. Hensley.

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