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Monday, June 17, 1996

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1 Kings 21:1-16
Psalm 5
Matthew 5:38-42

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better than vengeance

"What I say to you is: offer no resistance to injury." —Matthew 5:39

To punish and control those who have hurt us, we are inclined to retaliate. We feel that our retaliation will not be effective unless it inflicts worse damages than the original offense. However, this extra damage is unjust. Therefore, those who suffer it feel obligated to hurt us some more to even things up. To stop this escalating violence, the Lord taught us in the old covenant: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (Mt 5:38; Lv 24:20).

Jesus realized that, although the Old Testament system had good intentions, it was unworkable in practice. Who decides what is just retaliation? Will both sides agree to this? Jesus has a better way to further justice and deter injustice. Jesus' way is militant and aggressive, but not physically violent. Jesus' way of justice and justification is the way of the cross. He doesn't throw our injustices back at us, but took them on Himself and put them to death with Him on the cross. Jesus gets back at those who hurt Him not by returning evil for evil but good for evil (see Rm 12:20-21). In fact, for every evil act, Jesus retaliates with several good ones. Jesus stops evil by converting the evildoers, not by trying to control them.

Will you accept Jesus' grace to do the humanly impossible? Will you be like Jesus and offer no physically violent resistance to injury? Will you be a Christian or be like most other people?

Prayer:  Father, give me the supernatural courage to be non-violently militant.

Promise:  "At dawn You hear my voice; at dawn I bring my plea expectantly before You." —Ps 5:4

Praise:  Joan read the Bible regularly and came to understand God's teaching on forgiveness. She put the word into practice (Jn 13:17) by giving food and drink to the person who slandered her.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 29, 1995

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 4, 1995