Reading: Matthew 5
Text: Matthew 5.38-42
I sometimes feel that it is impossible to listen or read the news without someone demanding "rights."
We live in the greatest country in the world. With citizenship here, we are given certain rights. These rights are not unreasonable but are said to be given to us by God. However, our basic rights have been expanded into all kinds of rights for every kind of group. We live in a time in which "self" is glorified. From every corner we are encouraged to be self-centered, self-involved, and self-indulgent. In this self-age, people demand civil rights, women's rights, victim's rights, prisoners' rights, etc. People have become obsessed with rights, especially their own. When our personal rights have priority, true righteousness if forgotten.
Many have misinterpreted our text for today. They say that Christians should not ever resist violence. It has been used to teach pacifism, to support "conscientious objection" in times of war, and to argue against capital punishment. Jesus did not mean that we cannot resist when someone mistreats us or that a man cannot protect his family is someone breaks into his home.
Albert Barnes wrote:
Christ did not intent to teach that we are to see our families murdered, or be murdered ourselves, rather than to make resistance. The law of nature, and all laws, human and divine, justify self-defense, when life is in danger…Our Savior immediately explains what he means by it. Had he intended to refer it to a case where life is in danger, he would most surely have mentioned it."