The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Defiant love

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A friend of mine and I talked about how God often draws us toward doing things we once did, but doing them for different reasons.

Like:  He led us first into resisting abuse and abusers – “not being a door-mat,” if you will.  But now, having discovered that we (like you), were created in the image of God and bear the dignity of that Creator, we find ourselves looking again at our response to abuse. In security, there is not so much need to protect.  Destruction doesn’t threaten the core of who we are.
But what might seem like non-resistance is quite a bit different.  There is a pull to launch out beyond our former passivity – and this is what I’d not seen before – into an adamantine refusal to conform to ways that are less than his dreams for us. Listen to Brian McLaren describe the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapter 5):

“If someone strikes you on the right cheek, they have given you a backhand slap- the kind of thing a person in power (like a Roman soldier) does to a person he considers inferior [like someone of a country the Romans conquered]. You could strike back, but that would reduce you to the same violent level as your oppressor. Or you could simply skulk away in humiliation [that’s the old passivity], but that would mean letting the oppressor win. The kingdom manifesto [the Sermon on the Mount] invites you to pursue a third alternative: courageously turn the other cheek. Think of it: now to strike you on the left cheek, your presumably right-handed oppressor must treat you not as an inferior person but as a peer by hitting you with his fist, not his backhand. You have shown yourself to be not violent or weak but rather courageous and dignified and strong. You have shown your oppressor for the violent person he is. You have thus transcended oppression without violence or revenge.”

“. . . Or if someone forces you to carry his pack a mile- which a Roman soldier could do to any [person of an occupied country]- by willingly taking the pack the second mile, you show yourself a generous human being, strong, self-controlled, dignified, not dominated. The first mile may be forced, but the second mile, you walk free- transcending your oppression. The way to transcend a corrupt system is through generosity- giving, not holding back.”

“I don’t believe they are simple rules. . . . Rather, they are examples of the active, creative, transforming ways of the kingdom of God- overcoming violence not with violence but with creativity and generosity.”
Brian McLaren: The Secret Message of Jesus, 125-126

Wow – here we have non-violence, but non-violence birthed in a heart of relentless, almost defiant love.  It is not the dominant who is triumphant, but the indomitable.

I want to be like this!

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Written by Monte

August 25, 2006 at 11:55 am

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