Note to Self No.3: Don’t Forgive Too Soon

I refuse to accept Christian’s teaching on radical love as “giving up your rights and letting someone take advantage of you” (Hybels, 2004, p.18). Unless we understand the cultural context of the Gospel writer (Matthew 5:38-42), Christians tend to interpret that turning the other (left) cheek, running a second mile, and giving one’s coat together with the undergarments mean that we ought to be passive and self-abusive. However, in the olden days, these seemingly meek gestures would have meant “actively resisting evil, maintaining our dignity, and invites the person who hurt us to recall his or her own dignity.” (Linn, Linn, and Linn, 1997, p.7)

Find a creative, nonviolent way to resist and gain our dignity. Even in situations of injustice that we cannot fully change, we can at least maintain our power to choose our response instead of being passive victims. As Gandhi said, ‘The first principle of nonviolent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.'” (p.8)

Perhaps, this is the Christian version of ahimsa.

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