Loving the enemy made easy
Turn the other cheek? Does that not mean that Jesus expects us to systematically volunteer as victims? No, because there are limits. Answers to the questions when and how were provided by the Chief Apostle in a recent service.
What Jesus demanded was quite revolutionary. This is how Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider described the Sermon on the Mount in a divine service on 27 February 2016 in Muanda (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Jesus referred to many rules and laws of the Jews and then basically told the people to do the opposite.
The divine service—conducted in Salongo Stadium and attended by some 4,800 people—was based on Matthew 5: 39–41: “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”
The revolution: doing good only
It still is a revolution, even for the people who follow Christ today. The Sermon on the Mount calls on people to make fundamental changes, the Chief Apostle said: in their relationship to God, in their hearts’ disposition, and in their relationship to the neighbour.
Why? “Jesus came to earth to conquer evil.” And how did Jesus overcome evil? “Everything He did was good.” Jesus is the proof that you cannot overcome evil with evil, but only with good. “And in order to conquer evil, we take the same route Jesus did. We want to overcome evil by doing good.”
Defending ourselves? A question of when and how
What this means in practice, Chief Apostle Schneider made clear by referring to the example in the Bible text: “We change our inner being, we place more importance on spiritual than on earthly values. And our relationship to our neighbour is characterized by love, not by curiosity.”
“But God does not want us to be systematic victims of the evil one,” the Chief Apostle clearly said. The life of Jesus is proof of this. “We have the right to defend ourselves and to assert our rights.” It all comes down to when and how. It is a question of timing and the means we use.
Taking guidance from the Holy Spirit
“We should always allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.” If this is the case, the impulse in one instance might be: “Defend yourself, I will help you!” And another time we might be urged: “Don’t do anything, I will take care of your opponents.”
There are many situations in which we have to show that evil can be conquered by doing good. “Don’t use the same means as your opponent, but use the means provided by Jesus and put the gospel into practice. The strength for this we receive from Jesus.”
Loving the enemy means helping Jesus
The requirement is: love your enemies! “That does not mean that I have to go to a person who wants to harm me and tell him, ‘I love you!’” the Chief Apostle said, adding. “To love one’s enemy means that we want to win him for Christ’s cause.”
If we think about the following, it will help us in our efforts: “This person has done something wrong, but he is a victim of the evil one. And Jesus has the means to save this person from the evil one. I am going to help Jesus. Through my conduct I am going to help this person discover Christ and His power.”