We live in a world of retaliation. It begins in childhood with that “touched you last” taunt and grows rapidly to riots and wars: “You do a bad thing and I will do a worse thing back to you.”
God’s people are supposed to break that chain, change that pattern. However, this is not pacifism as it is a loving attitude of life:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38–42)
As Chambers says, this is a supernatural work of God in those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a constraint we cannot get away from; we can disobey it, but we cannot generate it. It is the kind of life that the world looks at and says, “What is going on here? How can this be?” It is one mark of distinction that sets Christians up as people of the Book, people whose lives are either attractive or draw to themselves a horrible hatred and persecution.
This non-retaliation goes beyond non-resistance. It is a supreme kindness that reflects the love of God. This love changes lives. We are all sinners. I have hated God, shoved my fist in His face, enjoyed His benefits without gratitude, begged His graces without any plans to change my ways — and He loves me with an everlasting love and with loving kindness continues to draw me to Himself. He sent Jesus to die for my sin, to persist with my resistance, to bless me with all that I need, to work all things together for my good, and to abide with me forever. And in this remarkable Sermon on the Mount, He asks me to be perfect, even as He is perfect.
How dare anyone say that Christianity is merely a crutch for weak people!