“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:39-42).
Although my beliefs typically lean to the right ideologically, I’m finding myself leaning leftward on the Confederate monument issue. I’d personally like to see all these relics, of the past, removed from prominent public spaces, to museums where their history can be preserved and remembered. But I do agree with President Trump concerning where does it stop; that’s a legitimate question. Another legitimate question is determining who gets to make these decisions; they don’t belong in the hands of mobs.
Despite my stated preference, I am sympathetic with respect to the Confederate artifacts, and with many, maybe even most, of the people resisting their removal. Perhaps my sympathy stems at least in part to my cultural connection, or maybe it’s simply because I’m a white male who has lived on a particular side of history. My sympathy doesn’t make me a racist, but failing to acknowledge my biases would make me, at the very least, short-sighted. I know God wants more from me. I am to love my neighbor as myself. I am to follow in Christ’s steps. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
What’s getting missed in this whole right-wing verses left-wing argument is that the original hate as well as the reactionary hate are both bad; revenge leaves room for no moral high ground. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21); the hot coals, by the way, emphasizes your enemy being lead to repentance, not being pummeled to death.
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:39-42). Those of us who are level headed, believers, on both sides, can move forward with the difficult business of unity, which means that we’re probably going to have to listen to, and even entertain, perspectives we find offensive; there’s a lot of sacrifice in loving your neighbor as yourself. Let’s step out of the flesh long enough to make room for the Spirit. Besides, when was the last time a hasty dismissal or a summary judgement changed your mind about anything?
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