In the Gospel today, Jesus tells his disciples they are to give the other cheek when slapped, they are to give their cloak when people demand their coat and to go two miles when asked to go one mile. Many misunderstood this to mean that Christians should tolerate abuses against themselves, they are to remain silent in the face of injustice because Jesus said so. But is this what Jesus meant? When Jesus was slapped in his trial, he did not turn the other cheek. Instead, he confronted the person who slapped him. We need to take the words of Jesus in context, otherwise, people will take advantage of us.
Jesus ends this by saying Give to everyone those who begs from you, do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. Let us then look at what Jesus is really saying. We turn the other cheek when someone slaps us. Jesus did not say, let them abuse you. We give our cloak, Jesus did not say give all you have. We go another mile when we are asked to go one mile. We do not go three or more miles. What does this mean? It tells us to go beyond what is asked, but there has to be limits to what we give. There has to be limits to injustice. Christians are not called to be silent and timid in the face of injustice. We are to stand against injustice and confront it with the Truth of Christ. If we are to give to everyone who begs, we need to make sure our families have something left. If we are to lend to anyone who wants to borrow, we need to make sure we have something left for our families.
The First Reading is an example of true injustice. The King wanted a land from one his citizens. He offered to buy the land, but the owner did not want to sell it because the land was an inheritance. It is a sign of God’s presence in his family. Because his offer was rejected, the king went back and sulk. His wife plotted to get that land by falsely accusing the owner of blasphemy. A false trial was convened and the owner was killed for his supposed sin. With this crime, the king took over the land at the cost of the death of an innocent man.
In the face of this situation, what is a Christian supposed to do? Are we to just sit back and tolerate this? Of course not! Should a Christian not be angry at injustice? Of course not! We should be justly angry with holy anger. Despite what none Christians think, we are not to quietly go our lives and allow injustice to happen, because God is a God of justice also. But how do we confront injustice?
We pray and ask God how he wants us to deal with it. Not everyone is called to be John the Baptist who rebuked the king of his adultery. Not everyone is called to be Elijah who rebukes his king. But everyone is called to just anger when injustice is done. And we respond according to how God wants us to respond. Nothing more, nothing less. But in all these, violence is almost always an unacceptable choice because God is the ultimate dispenser of justice not us.
We can pray for God to intervene in this injustice in his own time and in his own way. We cannot be the executioner nor judge because God is the dispenser of justice and he is the judge. Some use this to say Christians should not judge a person’s lifestyle then. If we do not judge the action, how can we know if something is just or not. We judge the action BUT NOT the person. We are not to judge a person’s heart or intent because we do not see their hearts. We judge their actions and determine if the action is evil or not according to God’s Truth. When someone says Christians are judgmental, they themselves are judgmental because they have judged us and not our actions. They accuse us of what they are doing.
Lord, you are the God of justice. The Psalm today says, you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you. Let me not be the source of injustice. Let my actions only give glory to you. Let it be just and holy. Remind me Lord, that in my death, I will need to take responsibility for all my actions, for what I have done, and what I have failed to do. Give me wisdom when I am confronted with injustice and let me know what you want me to do. Let me walk in your ways Lord for your Word is a Lamp to my feet, and a Light unto my Path.