- Overcoming evil by good:
Gospel of St. Mathew, 5, 38-48
This teaching of Jesus is rather surprising. It seems
to be disproportionate when we are used to living on the basis
of a giving and expecting something-in-return society: "eye
for eye, tooth for tooth". Jesus invites us to use another
logic: it is not a question to be submissive but on the contrary
to take risks to restore a happy relationship between the two:
"I did say to you do not retaliate against evil".
Give without expecting to receive in return and don't give up
hope for the others. Overcome evil by good. You will be free
from being a prisoner of fear.
- "If somebody slaps you on the right cheek, turn
and offer him your left"
This strange statement makes sense in a logic of going beyond
the abuse; to break with the violence and with the revenge.
Don't respond to violence by violence. Break the logic of
rivalry. Try to make your aggressor understand the violence within
him. Show him the strength of he who is not afraid. If you look
disarmed you may succeed to disarm the one who is facing you.
Indeed this follows the mechanisms of inhibition, well known
in human relationships as in animal species.
In a fight between wolves, the one who sees he is losing shows
its throat to the domineering and then inhibits its aggressiveness.
It is a method of regulation. Among humans, he or she who takes
a non-violent attitude, disconcerts his or her aggressor, the
one who gives more than he is asked, disconcerts and breaks the
escalation of violence.
- "If somebody requests you to walk one mile, go
with him two. Give when you are asked to give
Jesus wants us to understand that he who gives does not lose.
The one who gives transform the others and him.
In the famous novel of Victor Hugo, "Les Miserables",
the police arrested the former convict suspected of robbing the
Bishop's silver. They went together to see the Bishop. The Bishop
did not accuse the man brought by the police, instead he stated
that the silver was his own and gave to him also two silver candelabras!
His wish was that this man lived. Through this gift the former
convict recovered the status of a free man.
- "Love your enemies"
This means that you don't love only those who love you like
the common way of giving-giving.
- In ordinary life I invite to eat those who invite me,
I offer gifts to those who offer some to me, I help those who
we have to imitate the generosity of the Father
who makes rise his sun on good and bad alike. His love extends
to the whole human family without exception. Nobody is excluded.
We may think that these words "Love your enemies"
is not for us because we are "well" with every body.
We have no enemies. But our enemies can also be inside ourselves;
they can be as fearsome as outside enemies. The will to dominate,
to be violent or just to be afraid are our enemies and also the
desires that never had a right to live in ourselves because we
repressed them in the past, and often since our childhood.
The logic of self-surpassing does not aim at an immediate
return. We enter in the long term, in the dynamic of the friendship
of giving and receiving.
These human relationships that link us to the others are analogous
to those that God wants to have with us.