I’ve heard it said that if a dog attacks a person by the arm our instinct is to pull back, which of course makes sense. However this merely encourages the beast to tighten his clamp. What one should do is to force the arm as far into its mouth as possible, which surprises the dog and hopefully forces him to gag thus giving you the chance to yank your arm free.
Perhaps it is this same logic that Jesus used when he said ” If a man steals your shirt, give him your coat as well.” It would certainly surprise him, because he would surely expect you to chase him or call the police…after all he stole what rightfully belonged to you. But he would surely not expect you to give to him further after he stole from you. The next thing that might happen is that perhaps because his evil was countered by your goodness…he just might be shamed into repenting. Who knows.
Two amazing things happen here. By you doing the unnatural thing by NOT clinging to a possession, but denying your right to yourself and giving further…you break the back of the god of Mammon. The demon of materialism and greed has no hold on you. I believe a person like this can be used by God to do amazing things for the Kingdom. And because of that, a sinner has an opportunity to repent and have eternal life.
[Quick prelude to my next thoughts: Yes, I know the below-mentioned play is typically looked upon as more suited to our female friends, not very macho, and any dude that willingly goes to to see it without the excuse of having a lady-friend who dragged him to it will be forever dangling the scarlet letter W - for Wimp - around his neck. Well, for the record, I read the book, I did not go see the play. So there. That settles that. Hopefully the little machismo that I possess is unfettered and in tact]
This is beautifully illustrated in the book “Les Misérables”, when Jean Valjean, a recently freed convict, the story`s unlikely protagonist, has been welcomed into the home of the town`s bishop, Monseigneur Bienvenu when nobody else would receive him. After 19 years of prison this is a surprising and confusing development. Nobody has ever shown him this kind of hospitality or respect. But then Monseigneur Bienvenu is no ordinary bishop..he is one who is after Gods own heart, not puffed up and roiling in the pomp and wealth like most other Catholic clergy of the day. No, his life is a simple one and his heart is nearer that of Jesus than any other.
What happens next is simply perplexing, and I believe, what Jesus means for Christians to emulate. Continue reading