Rules of engagement against the wicked

For a hard-working, faithful follower of Christ…STAY AWAY FROM THOSE THAT DO WICKEDNESS!!!

But if you can’t, if you run into the wicked every time you are out there in that awful world, Christ has given us rules of engagement. The Lord Jesus Christ has two important standards that He expects us to meet:

Matthew 5:38–39 (KJV 1900)
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

1. Jesus says Christians are not to “resist evil” which means to be “hostile toward wickedness.”

2. An “eye for an eye” means you give understanding for understanding. WRONG ACTION! Evil will NOT understand Christians, and Christians will NOT understand them. It is certain to develop into a hostile situation with wicked attacks against you sure to come.

3. A “tooth for a tooth” means you give pain for pain. WRONG ACTION! You can NOT return pain for pain! To do so will develop into a hostile situation with a fight between evil and good.

4. Jesus says to “NOT RESIST EVIL.” To avoid hostility toward wickedness, Christians must not be in the position where they are trying to understand evil or to hurt them as much as it is hurting you. You must not be in the position to cause pain for pain!

5. And if it should develop into a violent situation with evil smiting the Christian on the right cheek, the other cheek should be turned to him. Don’t fight! Be smart. Stay out of the situation from the beginning, and you won’t in all probability be in position to “turn the other cheek.”

6. When you stand “face-to-face” with someone, you are in each other’s presence.

7. If a Christian is FORCED to carry, is PRESSED into service, to go a mile, go extra. Much extra.

Christ wants you to give freely, not to be forced and controlled. Again, if evil is trying to control you, Christ wants their control off you. By going twice as much as they ask for, you are taking control of yourself that is guided by the Holy Spirit, and not being forced to do what evil desires.

Evil is limited. Your effort, supported by the Holy Spirit, is never limited.

It is interesting that this passage is a part of two paragraphs with seemingly different meanings of the treatment of evil. The treatment of evil progresses from Christ’s desire for Christians to “NOT resist evil” that begins the paragraph Matthew 5:38-42 and moves toward “loving your enemies” in the paragraph beginning at Matthew 5:43-48.

It is as if Christ is giving us two Standards. First, don’t let evil control your actions, even if it is done through legal means. Give evil more than what they ask for to avoid giving them control. But then, we move to the heart condition!

Secondly, Christ tells us not only does he not want us wrestling with evil, but he wants us to show them Christ’s love also. It is apparent that just obeying the black-and-white rules of handling evil by giving them more than they request means nothing if our own hearts are not in the mix also. Christ does not want us just to be clever to keep out of the hands of evil. He also wants our hearts righteous and pure while we are doing it! He does not just want us playing a game. He wants us to love our enemy!

Christ’s Standards of Deployment towards evil, is to stay out of the control of the worldly and avoid contact with the enemy. But, if you end up in the presence of evil, don’t show weakness. Don’t give control to the wicked. Generously give more to them than what they ask. And while you are giving it to them, show them honest love from your heart! Let’s look at that verse:

Matthew 5:43–48 (KJV 1900)
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Those two Standards of Christ are His Followers RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Don’t just read the words. Understand that this approach will be one of the most difficult Standards Christ gives us to carry out perfectly.

If prayer and the Holy Spirit are not guiding my actions, it seems almost impossible for me to comply. But my love for the Lord and obedience to His Standards gives me no wiggle room. Even if it doesn’t feel good to give wickedness so much. Sigh.

Does that feeling of frustration towards wickedness mean that my heart is not fully into walking the journey with Christ or that my human condition cannot ever climb above the horrid actions of the enemy? How do I ever overcome my fervent desire to strike back when the enemy attacks?

And my last question to myself that references something that maybe no one else will understand:

How do I justify my tears when the priest finds the thief in Les Misérables and “buys his soul for God” by giving him even more silver to steal?

Who am I? Who am I? 24601! (A Human Being with Flaws)