“The church believes in only one violence, that of Christ, who was nailed to the cross.” Oscar Romero
“For early Christians, enemy-love was the hallmark of what it meant to believe in Jesus. …Unless you love your enemy, you actually don’t love your neighbor. …When Jesus talks about His suffering on the cross, He often commands His followers to do the same: ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Matt. 16: 24). Jesus suffers injustice on a Roman cross to die for sin, but He also intends it to be a nonviolent pattern for us to follow. When Jesus washes His disciples’ feet—even the feet of His betrayer—He tells His followers to do the same: ‘I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you’ (John 13: 15). …Jesus rebukes James and John for their thirst for violent retaliation (Luke 9: 51– 56), encourages His followers to endure patiently when violently attacked (Mark 13: 9– 13), and disarms Peter when he violently resists evil by hacking off the ear of a man trying to arrest Jesus. ‘Put your sword back into its place,’ …Nonviolence is the astonishing rhythm of Christianity ….The Sermon on the Mount constitutes Jesus’s radical kingdom ethic. Heads will turn as we turn our cheeks. Our inexplicable behavior will call attention to our inexplicable God. Light will beam across our dark world as we love the spouses who don’t love us back, keep our word when it hurts, judge ourselves rather than others, and—most shockingly—love our enemies who are harming us. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are hated, we love. When we are robbed, we give. And when we are struck, we don’t strike back with violence. A person who chooses to love his or her enemies can have no enemies. That person is left only with neighbors.” Preston Sprinkle
“Negroes who engage in the demonstrations and who understand nonviolent philosophy will be able to face dogs and all of the other brutal methods that are used without retaliating with violence because they understand that one of the first principles of nonviolence is the willingness to be the recipient of violence while never inflicting violence upon another.” Martin Luther King
“For all who take the sword
will perish by the sword.”
Matthew 26: 52
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you think of nonviolence as “the astonishing rhythm of Christianity?” …as the way of Jesus?
- Could you be “the recipient of violence” while refusing to inflict violence upon another?
- Is enemy-love the “hallmark” of your Christianity?
Abba, grant me to have no enemies, only neighbors.
For More: Fight by Preston Sprinkle
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