top of page

Climbing The Mountain

Matt Brownell, Tim Adams, and Van Owens

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • RSS

Climbing the Mountain is a weekly podcast devoted to the Word of God and its application in the lives of believers today. Grounded in the Sermon of the Mount, we dive into connecting scriptures to explore themes and implications.

Episode 23 - Enemy Love - Part 4

March 10, 2023

Or listen here:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • RSS

We continue our dive into Matthew 5:43-48 43 to look at what it means to really love others.

Hey, I'm Matt Brownell.
And I'm Van Owens.
And I'm Tim Adams.
Welcome to Climbing the Mountain, where we dive into the scriptures and discuss themes,
connections, and real life application.
We're kicking off a series here where we're going to examine the Sermon on the Mount and
discuss implications for this teaching for Christians today.
First off, I want to say that I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to come back
together again to discuss enemy love and retaliation.
I've got to say that the last episode was a challenging one for me because it didn't
feel like I had the ability to speak up and share my thoughts on this topic.
And in many of the situations that I've been in or witnessed, that's basically where this
would end.
Someone feels shut down or unable to contribute to the discussion, feelings get hurt, relationships
are stressed, and then everyone goes home.
And basically just stays that way and just unaddressed.
It's an open wound that just kind of festers over time.
But I'm really grateful that's not what we're doing here.
We're trying to cultivate space and we're trying to cultivate relationships between
each of us that allow for hard conversations to happen with love, respect, and humility.
I know this is not easy and it's taken us many months of deep conversation to get to
this point.
But I know by the fact that we're back in this room, that we're united in this mission
and I'm grateful to God to be in this space.
I believe what we're doing here, having these types of conversations is a foundational skill
that we all need to thrive in our lives, relationships, and churches.
And so I hope that this conversation today can be an inspiration to others.
These conversations are possible and are worth striving for.
Yeah, Tim, I agree with what you're saying and I'm also so happy that we're coming back
together to do this because there is what usually happens is like you said, people shut
down, they have hurt feelings or they're angry and that rift just grows.
The other thing that can happen and this is a thing that happens very often in pop culture
is that it gets nasty.
It gets bitter.
People get angry.
Or there's just a decision that's made that, okay, we will agree to disagree.
And that is a thing, I think, but most of the time, I think when people say agree to
disagree, what they mean is, I'm not going to listen to you anymore.
You're not going to listen to me anymore.
We are not on the same track, so let's just stay separate.
And that kind of thing separates relationships and marriages and churches and all kinds of
organizations and it does it every day all the time.
So I'm so grateful for the fact that we get to do this.
I'm actually very grateful for the fact that we don't agree on everything, that it's not
a sounding board for each other's agreement.
Yeah, me too.
That's in some ways the only ways that people talk these days.
It was with people that they agree with.
Yeah, yeah.
No, I couldn't agree more.
I'm so grateful for this space that we're in.
And yeah, there's no writing each other off here.
There's no like judging and thinking, okay, well, wash my hands of this and see you later.
Not at all.
So I'm really grateful that we get to be in this space and come back to this.
So what we do want to acknowledge, Darryl was going to join us and couldn't make it due
to a conflict that came up last minute.
So we're having this conversation on script with the three of us, but there's many other
conversations that happen off script.
I'm just happy to be here to have this with the three of us.
So with that said, let's dive in.
And one of you guys read Matthew 5:38-48 to kind of set the context and
then I've got a few questions I'd like to discuss.
I would be happy to.
Matthew five starting in verse 38.
Jesus says, you have heard that it was said, I fry and tooth for tooth, 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 code 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 have heard that it was said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I tell you,
love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your father
in heaven.
He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and
the unrighteous.
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Aren't that even tax collectors doing that?
And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?
Do not even pagans do that?
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect.
So after we had our past conversations about this, I went back and I listened to what we
were talking about.
And that was really helpful for me.
And to see how much we discussed that I just think is so true.
And I will spend time at the end of this conversation meditating on those areas.
But there's a couple of key ideas that I feel like we need to discuss in a little bit more
And so let's start with the question of assault.
So in one of our previous conversations, we talked about the proverbial example of a
thief breaking into your house.
And Matt, you brought up Exodus 22:2-3, which I think is a really important
thing to bring into this conversation.
It says, if a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender
is not guilty of bloodshed.
But if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed.
So based on that scripture and much, you know, lots that you guys talked about in those conversations,
the consensus I heard from the group seemed to be that Jesus' teachings on retaliation
and enemy love address insult, but not assault.
So put another way, these teachings relate to the like 95% of the time situations where
we're just slighted or taken advantage of by others, maybe in an economic way, but that
these don't, these teachings don't necessarily relate to situations where we're physically
in danger.
So that was my understanding of what you guys said and kind of where you came to.
And so the first question that I have is just like, did I summarize that right?
Did I understand you correctly?
And after that, I really am curious, like in what ways, if any, do Jesus' teachings
and the teachings of the apostles relate to situations when we are physically in danger?
I'm glad you, thank you for that question.
The first I think I'll take that in chunks.
And the first part, I'd say, yeah, generally, I think that's a fair summary, particularly
when you're looking at the retaliation section.
I think it is more insult than assault.
And I'm glad you brought up the Exodus 22 passage and read it because I didn't spend
much time with it.
I just referenced it quickly and kept moving, but there's a lot more nuance to it.
And the point I brought out last time is that the law assumes we'll protect ourselves.
I think that's still true.
The value of human life that we hear in thou shalt not kill or in Genesis when it says
we're made in God's image.
I think that applies to everyone.
We should value our lives and the lives of our loved ones as we do others' lives.
So if someone's threatening our life or the life of one of our loved ones, we can do something
about it.
If we can, we should do something.
But here's where the nuance comes in.
If we kill the intruder at night, it's not considered murder, but it's different during
the day.
Why is that?
I think there's an assumption behind these verses that we should only do what is necessary
to protect and either repel or subdue the intruder.
During the day, we can call for help.
There's a lot more people awake who could hear our cries for help.
During the day, we can see what's going on and when we defend ourselves.
So if we kill the intruder during the day, it's a lot different than if we do it at night
and we could unintentionally kill them or in the dark by accident or be caught in a situation
where there's either their life or our life because no one hears our cries, no one's come
to help.
And oops, you know, so I don't know.
There's a lot more nuance there.
But the larger teaching I still think that you can draw behind it, the heart behind it,
is true about protecting.
But so I think that it is a different situation that Jesus is talking about in the retaliation
I think the backhanded slap is very much about insult and the mishna, I think that was something
that I made reference to.
It's the recorded oral tradition of the Pharisees during the Second Temple period, which is
that's the same time that intersects with Jesus.
And it details how much someone could sue for such an insult twice as much as the front-handed
And I think so.
And I think the point we were making there was in an honor society, that would be a huge
And so, you know, you could look at this and say, if someone slaps you, what's a big, you
know, don't be such a baby.
But in that culture, that would have been a significant thing.
And so this would have been a teaching that he is addressing here.
But I think there's also, when you get to the hate your enemies piece of it, the next
part, I think that's also, there's some context there, too, that would be helpful to bring
out about how, you know, groups of people othered each other and hated each other.
And I think there's a semantic context that we have been running into a little bit here,
that we talked about a little bit in passing about the anger stuff that we really didn't
cover when we were looking at it.
But the term Raca had this connotation of you're basically saying someone's outside
the people of God, they're essentially lost.
There's another thing in the Dead Sea Scrolls about hate your enemies, which is something
that Jesus is a thread that Jesus is pulling on in these verses here in the community rule
or the manual discipline, which is one of the first scrolls that was discovered.
It says, love everyone whom God has elected and hate everyone whom he has rejected.
Jesus is calling out this teaching as contrary to God's will.
Instead, he says that we should love each other, especially if you're insulted in some
extreme way, like the backhanded slap or being called Raca or something.
But so that's my long-winded summary of yes, I think that's a fair summary that you mentioned
And I think the second question I think is a lot more about physical danger.
I think it's situational, but I'd like to hear what other people think.
Yeah, I'm curious, Van, like how I want to make sure that I'm summarizing you guys correctly
So does that have anything to do with you thinking?
So I felt like the summary was in line with that discussion.
And I'll tell you guys, this is so hard to think about.
It's so hard to conceptualize.
And as I was thinking about it, preparing for this discussion, I started to really struggle
with the whole concept of a hypothetical situation.
I had been studying in my personal devotional time, I was studying the book of Genesis and
reading about the temptation, the fall of man, the temptation in the garden.
And the serpent comes to Eve and says, did God really say to you, you can't eat from
any of the trees in the garden?
And I thought, what he's introducing there is something, first of all, that didn't really
And it's almost a kind of a hypothetical situation.
He's saying, did God really say that?
And Eve replies and says, no, God didn't really say that.
She goes on to say, God said, we could eat from any tree in the garden, except that tree
in the middle, because if we eat it, or even if we just touch it, we will die.
And so somehow that hypothetical setup of the situation had created in her, God did
say, don't eat from it.
But he did not say, don't touch it.
And somehow she added to it.
And I wonder if the hypothetical situation made her add to it.
And so I was thinking through the value of hypothetical situations.
It brought me to a scripture in Luke chapter 22.
This is when Jesus is about to be betrayed.
He's about to go through the passion.
And I'm going to read it if you guys don't mind.
I'm going to pick it up in verse 35 of Luke chapter 22.
It says, then Jesus asked them, he's with his disciples, when I sent you without purse,
bag or sandals, did you lack anything?
Nothing they answered.
He said to them, but now if you have a purse, take it.
And also a bag.
If you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
It is written and he was numbered with the transgressors.
And I tell you that this must be fulfilled.
Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.
The disciples said, see Lord, here are two swords.
That's enough.
Jesus replied.
And so I have always read that passage my whole life up until three days ago.
I've always read that last statement where Jesus says that's enough as, okay, two swords
is enough.
Two swords is plenty.
We don't need more than two swords.
And so when I started to do a little research and I looked at commentaries and I looked
at several commentaries.
Every single commentary I looked at agreed that Jesus wasn't saying that's enough swords.
What he was saying is that's enough of this conversation.
Basically he was saying this conversation is over.
And a lot of the commentators thought that what he was saying was you guys are not getting
what I'm saying.
That they were taking literally what he was saying as yes, we need at least two swords.
But what he was really doing was he was talking figuratively.
What he was saying was the time is coming when the kind of protection that you enjoyed
the last time you went out will not be available to you.
In other words, there'll be persecution.
In other words, it's going to be hard.
In other words, you're going to have to prepare for the hardship to come.
And so that made me rethink the whole, okay.
So because I always sort of use that passage as an excuse or as a way to get out of the,
the, okay, is it okay to defend yourself?
Obviously Jesus is saying it's okay to defend yourself because why would they have two swords?
But what Jesus was saying, no, you don't get it.
It's not, it's not, I'm not talking about that.
And it goes on later in Luke 22 in verse 47, it says, while he was speaking, a crowd came
up and the man who was called Judas, one of the 12 was leading them.
He approached Jesus to kiss him.
But Jesus asked him, Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?
When Jesus followers, this is the passage that really is, is fascinating to me.
When Jesus followers saw what was going to happen, they said, Lord, should we strike
with our swords?
So nothing hypothetical is going on here.
This is for real.
They're coming.
They've got clubs.
They mean harm.
There's going to be violence.
Lord should we strike with our swords and one of them, and one of them struck the servant
of the high priest, cutting off his ear, but Jesus answered no more of this and touched
the man's ear and healed him.
And so as I was thinking about the discussion that we had, thinking about the scriptures,
thinking about the passages, I thought, and I think there is room for nuance, but I think
that nuance is something that has to happen in the moment.
It has to happen that we get in trouble when we talk about all these hypothetical situations.
And I'm not, I mean, I'm not criticizing what we did.
I think that we, our intent was good, but I think hypothetical situations can make us,
can make us go like Eve did to an extreme that may not be true, that may not be right.
And I think that what Jesus is saying to them is that, look, I'm not talking about physical
violence here.
I'm not talking about, I'm not talking about a specific scenario.
I'm talking about what the state of your heart needs to be, what the state of your soul needs
to be.
And I'm saying, last time I told you, go out, don't worry about anything.
I've got it.
I'll take care of it.
You'll be fine.
Now I'm telling you, go out, but be prepared.
Be prepared for situations that come up.
And clearly Jesus is not advocating the use, this passage tells me he's not advocating
that we necessarily, that we violently protect ourselves.
And is he saying, well, those guys don't have swords, so we shouldn't have swords.
So I don't know.
I don't think so.
I think what he's saying is enough of all this conjecture, enough about this conversation
because you're not understanding it.
I don't think that he's saying that we shouldn't have the conversation.
I think what he was saying then is that it's not time you guys aren't there yet.
And what the conclusion that I came to from that is the way we deal with this is the way
that we're doing it right now.
You have to do it in conversation.
You have to do it in openness with your brothers.
You have to do it presenting what's real.
You have to do it presenting what is pertinent to you in the situation now because the further
we get into hypothetical, the more likely we are to get into trouble and disagreement.
And if we're going to disagree, I think it's better to disagree about something that's
real and present that we can see, that we can grasp than to disagree about a hypothetical
Thank you both for both.
I'm glad one that the basic summary that I had is a good summary of what you guys were
talking about last time.
When we spend all of our time talking about edge cases, the dangers that I can see are
one that we, in these hypothetical situations, one we lose sight of the stuff that's just
right in front of our face every day that we need to live by, which is a lot of what
we discussed in the past several episodes.
And yeah, and that we can also get kind of caught up in an imaginary world that might
never actually matter for us.
So I totally hear that.
And I think for the three of us in this room, the question of how do we act when we're physically
in danger might be largely a theoretical question.
For our brothers and sisters throughout the world, that is not a theoretical question.
And for many of those who are listening, that might not be a theoretical question.
And so I think it's still an important question to ask.
And so that's why I'd like to take it next.
So just ask directly.
So do you guys think that there are, that what we see in the New Testament, right, the
teachings of Jesus, the apostles, the example of the church, you know, how do these, do
any of these teachings relate to situations of how we're called to act when we're physically
in danger?
So I think there is a bit of what is Jesus addressing in when he's talking in the Sermon
on the Mount.
And then there's, which is, again, I think there's a difference in what he's saying there
from every possible scenario.
And you know, I think there, I agree, there's some danger in getting to hypotheticals.
Although even with the Exodus 22 passage, it feels almost like they were trying to think
of a hypothetical somehow, right?
Like what's the, and how can you pull on the logical argument one way or the other and
give an extreme and what would happen in that?
And how would you, how would you get to the heart behind it by meditating on that, that
I think you could get somewhere with that, which I'm suggesting protecting your own
self if you can.
How that is meted out in the New Testament, I think is hard to, I don't think there's
no definitive like list of possible scenarios where it's going to say, okay, now in this
case you can do this or not.
I think it is in the moment and training yourself to understand a little bit what that, what
that might look like.
So, but there are a few examples that I thought of that are maybe instructive.
You know, there are several times where Jesus, it wasn't his time.
And so he walked away.
He left, he got out of a situation that was dangerous.
Paul used his Roman citizenship one time to avoid being tortured.
Good for you, Paul.
Other times, you know, he realized he wasn't going to get out of it even when people are
saying, hey, you're going to die.
You're going to be bound like this and you know, this is your, your headed to danger.
So there are certain times where it may not be possible for us to avoid something.
And I think you're right, Tim.
And this is a very important thing to mention for many of our listeners in the United States.
This is, this is a hypothetical.
The most that you're going to face is insult.
You know, not actual persecution like what Jesus is talking about happened to his apostles.
Everyone of them died except maybe John exiled on Patmos, killed for following Jesus.
And same through, you know, read Fox's book of martyrs, like that that's just filled
with, you know, lists of people and how they died for their faith in Jesus.
And I think that so there is a difference there.
And so maybe there's a situation where you can get out of it, great, but you might have
to in some cases face again, for many us, here's this, this is kind of a hypothetical,
But let's say you do have to face someone who's going to, you know, harm you for your
Well, I think in that situation, you do have to, to follow Jesus who was harmed for it.
And I think that there is a, there's a lot more to this that we could pull on.
I think when, you know, Paul is writing about respecting people in authority that carry
the sword.
He's writing at a time where those people worked for a government that was under Nero.
And Christians maybe didn't want to participate in, you know, situations where they would
be put in harm, but they did anyway, because they loved people that needed their help and
they risked their personal lives.
And so I think that is different.
In some sense, I think all of us can take, should take this very, very seriously about
how Jesus humbled himself to, to obedience, to, and humble obedience to death on a cross.
And Isaiah, I just want to end here with this, he was oppressed and afflicted yet he did
not open his mouth.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as the sheep before its shears is silent,
so did he did not open his mouth.
This is his defining act.
So I'd like to respond to that, but I want to make sure, because I think there's a lot
that's really awesome that you just shared.
And I want to make sure Van, do you have anything to add to that?
In terms of the big picture, New Testament teachings, how do these relate to the goal?
And I, and I agree that, that, that what you were saying, Matt, about for, when we talk
about this situation as middle class Americans, we're kind of armchair quarterbacks on this.
nobody is going to threaten us physically.
Well, let me say it this way.
It's probably very unlikely that we're going to be threatened physically because of our
faith that we're going to be, we live in a, you know, there's crime everywhere and there's
random acts of violence everywhere.
You know, we live in a country where mass shootings have become normal.
And what we're talking about is retaliating and there's just, there's simply no place
in the New Testament that I could find where violent threats were responded to with violence.
The passage I read before is the closest I've seen and Jesus who was right in the midst
of it and who was going to be the primary victim of it said, nope, we're not talking
about this now.
And no, we're not doing this.
And he healed the man who was injured.
And so, and I think that that's a, that's a very, that's a very incredibly challenging
thing for me.
Growing up as I did now, I'm, I'm an old man now and I live in a suburb and my life
is very, very, very, very extraordinarily safe.
And I've gotten alarm on my house.
I've got all kinds of stuff that I don't fear violence very often.
Being a black man in America, sometimes I fear violence, you know, from, from the police
or from whoever, but I, I live a pretty safe life.
And I think the thing that, the thing that, the thing that I do in my heart is that I
always say, God, when I see a situation where I think if that happened to me, if somebody
did something to my child or to my wife or to my mother or to my friend, what would I
Could I turn the other cheek?
And the answer to that question is, I don't know, but the answer of what should I do in
that situation is always, yes, I would, I should turn the other cheek.
I should be more like Jesus.
What we're going to talk about in a later podcast, I need to be perfect.
That's my heavenly father is perfect.
And but perfection for me is not something that I'm ever going to get to in this life.
It's also something that I can never stop striving towards.
And so I think what Jesus was saying to the apostles when he said enough of this conversation,
I'm not talking about swords and violence, that he's saying, we can't have this discussion
now, but I think that the whole, the whole push of scripture is this is a conversation
we need to continue to have because we're all striving towards that perfection.
Yeah, I know we were already at 30 minutes, but we're going to go a little longer on this.
There's there's basically two key thoughts that I wanted to address in this episode,
but we're only going to have time for one.
So we'll do this.
We'll finish off this idea and then we'll, we'll tackle the next one in another episode.
Sounds good.
But what I, so you guys are saying similar things, but somewhat different things.
I'm going to simplify a little bit and just respond kind of both to both of you.
The reason I phrased the question the way I did is because I thought that we really
didn't talk much about being physically in danger in the previous episodes.
And, but this is the kind of the, when we get to talk about, bring things to like logical
conclusion, right?
This is where, you know, everyone's mind goes when they read Jesus's words for the first
time or hear them for the first time in Matthew five.
And we talked back when we were talking about wrestling with the word, right?
Where you were wrestling with, we want to, you know, try to understand how all of the
teachings of the Bible fit together, right?
We want to only accept an interpretation if it lines up with the whole arc of scripture.
And when I take a step back, right, from all of the, you know, Matthew 5:38-48
that's one of the things I got to wrestle with.
And I take a step back, I look at all of those examples from, from the rest of the New Testament.
I agree with you, man.
I cannot find a single example where a Christian used violent force to protect themselves or
someone else.
There was a lot of fleeing.
Run away.
There's, if you read Acts, they're just on the run all the time.
And in particular, after the stoning of Stephen, yeah, right, it said Saul approved of their
killing him on that day.
A great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem and all except the apostles
were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, right?
They are fleeing.
No one's trying to die here, right?
That's very clear.
And so, but, but with that said, the only instance of someone using force is what you
said, Van.
And you were reading the passage in Luke where Jesus has no more of this and Matthew adds
to that in Matthew 26.
There Jesus says, put your sword back in its place for all who draw the sword will die by
the sword.
So the crux of what I'm saying here is that if we have the teachings of Jesus here in Matthew
5 and other teachings throughout scripture, and I can read some of them, but Romans 12,
I mentioned first Peter that talk about not paying evil for evil, submitting to those
who are harsh suffering for doing good.
If your enemies hungry, feed him leaving room for God's wrath.
If we have all of that and we have only examples of people willingly dying rather than defend
Then I struggle to see how we could take all of that and say, but we can still defend ourselves
and maybe kill someone in the process.
I just, I just, I don't, I can't make that fit.
And so that's where, that's where I'm, the crux of where I'm coming from on this particular
And I'm curious how you guys respond to that.
I think, I think you're right.
Even if you look at like the Old Testament where you had a theocratic state and you had
the people of God killing others, the larger lesson there, I think that you're supposed
to draw is that you need to depend on God and that you should fight.
But when we turn to the New Testament, the fight's not physical.
Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians that our weapons are not worldly.
So there is a spiritual battle that we're supposed to be waging.
And when Paul talks about the armor of God and the sword of the spirit, he's not talking
about literal swords.
No, we're, we're doing battle and in our own hearts against sin and we're doing battle
in a spiritual realm and fighting for other people around us too.
And it's not the same kind of thing at all.
So, you know, where do you come in and with that knowledge and then look at something
like defending yourself?
I think you're right.
Again, going back to the Exodus 22 passage, I think there's an assumption that maybe protection
is okay, but not killing.
Even you know, let's say someone, and I think it's the difference between the night and
day in that passage that draws out like, okay, maybe there's a certain situation where you
didn't mean to do this and it happened just because someone came in and, you know, you
wake up and, ah, there are, you know, and accidents happen.
But during, if there's, as much as it depends on you, you have to protect yourself, but
you don't, you don't have to kill someone in the process.
That's, that is definitely not okay.
You know, I, when I was a kid, I took a, took a karate class.
When I was a, when I was a teenager, I got to be a green belt, but I was never, I was
never the fighter.
I was not.
I went to two karate tournaments.
I have a perfect record.
Two knockouts.
I got knocked out twice.
So that tells you what a, what a fighter I am, but one of the things, one of the rules
was that you defend yourself, you run.
The first rule was run and the second rule was defend yourself.
And then only after you had no other options was there.
Now you fight.
Now you have to respond with violence.
But you know, the, the, the, and that makes logical sense to me.
That sounds, that sounds moral.
But I think that we have to, we have to put that with all of the other very radical statements
that Jesus has been saying through this whole section of the sermon.
You know, it's a, it's a discussion that I still have with myself.
It's a discussion that I still have in my relationship with God.
And, but you're right.
I just don't see any Christian doing any violence in the Bible.
And, and so it means that that is the standard that that's the only standard that I can really
take up.
And so I need to, just as I know I'm not perfect.
I know I can say, I know that lust is wrong and I should never ever lust, but it's a fight.
Any other moral failing that I have, it's always a fight.
But somehow the, the moral failing of violence in the face of violence is just, it's harder.
And I think it's harder for Westerners.
I think it's harder for Americans.
I think it's harder for people who grew up in, in violent neighborhoods, but I think
it's still the, it's still the fight that we have to, that we have to take up because
it's, it's what Jesus said.
It's more than what Jesus said.
It's what Jesus did.
And, but I think that the, I think the discussion needs to continue.
And I think we'll get more into it in the next section when we talk about, you know,
governments and, and people who, you know, where he says they don't carry the sword for
We haven't touched the police officer military like serving in a government and none of that.
We haven't touched any of that yet, but I think as, as far as, and you know, at, at
this, at this recording where what a week and a half, two weeks away from Martin Luther
King day.
And of course, Dr. King stance was non violence.
He walked arm in arm with people carrying no weapons into people who had dogs and batons
and guns.
And we know what happened to him.
I think there's a difference to maybe from that example that we can draw between the
personal one-on-one kind of interaction with someone versus an asymmetric power struggle
with a government or, I mean, you could even say like a cultural or religious, like what,
you know, persecution that the Christians faced in the first century, or even mobs,
Like mob, you know, it's like, so what do you, what do you do in that situation?
I think that might look different.
Like, okay, well, I guess if I can't get away from this, I'm, this might be it.
And how do I die now with grace?
And how can I draw like what Stephen did to, to look to God in that situation?
Or I don't know, I'm also reminded of, is it Turtulian that said the seeds of the church
or the blood of the saints as the seeds of the church, something like that?
And, that in those situations, if we face them, we would be called to entrust ourselves
to him who judges justly and somehow God has a purpose for this that we don't understand
but to still trust him.
Can I ask about that?
And this is probably close to where we'll end.
Because that doesn't make, that idea doesn't make sense to me.
I do see that, I mean, in the New Testament, the Christians are obviously being persecuted
by the Romans by the religious elite.
But that's, that's the situation.
But if the, if the argument is, you know, if you're gonna die anyways, because you can't
defend yourself because the other side's too powerful, you might as well die with grace.
What's the logical conclusion if, well, then you're on an equal power structure?
I just, I don't see how, I don't see how the teachings of Jesus and the, in the, the
example of Jesus and the church change when it's not, you know, the U.S. coming at me
with their military versus, you know, it's a guy on the street coming at me who I could,
I could duke out.
I, I think the guy on the street coming at me, I would run away maybe, or I would like
ask for help or I don't know.
I guess, I guess what I was hearing before was you were, I thought you were saying, and
this is why I'm gone, we gotta clarify because I don't want to put words into your mouth
or assume something you're not saying.
But I thought you were saying, you know, someone like Martin Luther King, you know, or, or
anyone in the New Testament, you know, there's asymmetrical authority.
So they're non-resistant.
They're not retaliating, but maybe that retaliation could be acceptable if there's an equal power
No, I wasn't saying that.
I was saying it might be impossible for you to, to escape.
There might be nowhere you can escape to.
There's no chance for you to get out of it.
There's no way out.
And you're just going to get killed.
Like Steven, who's like in the Sanhedrin.
There's no way for him to run.
He's surrounded.
It's it.
That's it.
Well, I'm really glad I clarified then because I grossly misunderstood you.
And, and honestly, I think that that might kind of be a good place for us to stop here.
And the reason for that, I know we don't like to necessarily land on stuff in a particular
But my goal for asking this set of questions here is really to get us thinking and wrestling
with the broader New Testament and thinking about how does Jesus' teachings here in Matthew
five fit into everything else that we're seeing in the witness of the church?
I think there's a, a lot to say there that would favor an interpretation of Matthew 5
that doesn't end at insult, but includes that even in the cases of assault or physical danger
that were called to love our enemies that were called to non retaliation.
And that's in a nutshell how it summarized my understanding of this and the rest of the
New Testament on this teaching.
But there's some really cool questions and media questions for us to dive into around
the, basically the government and how we are connected to the government and what we do
with that.
And so I think that's going to take a little bit more time.
And so we're going to come back for a part six.
Sounds great.
Looking forward to it.
Thank you.
Thank you.

bottom of page