Jesus does not urge stoic passivity, which can be a cloak for weakness. He summons us to the kind of active resistance rooted in love that reveals pure strength of character. Anyone can strike back. It doesn’t require great strength to retaliate. Jesus’ third way is not for the weak, but exclusively for the meek.
If you are meek your opponents may use their weapon of choice but you won’t let them choose yours for you. You refuse to let them determine your response. You are determined from within. They may hit you emotionally, even physically, but you can choose to give the Holy Spirit something to work with by returning spiritual blows. They try to break your self-confidence while you break open their hearts so the Spirit can seep through the cracks.
As Pope Francis recently declared, “A culture of nonviolence is not an unattainable dream, but a path that has produced decisive results. The consistent practice of nonviolence has broken barriers, bound wounds, healed nations.”
This is an excerpt from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.