Question:

In regards to your answer to the person that asked about their adult child stealing from them. You gave no New Testament verse for your answer. If you are going to give answers to people, especially those who ask questions regarding their families, you should give biblical answers -- New Testament biblical answers. I have been raised in the church of Christ my whole life and I have to tell you, that was one of the worst answers to any question I have ever seen. I found your site and was excited to read the questions and answers, but when I read that one I was shocked at what I read. Not only did you give an approach that was a non-loving one, you jumped to conclusions as to why their child might have done what they did. Shame on you! You might need to read Luke 6:29 and not be so quick to judge! There is no need to respond to this post, because I have lost all respect for who ever answers these questions.


Answer:

You are right. I should list out the verses that I had in mind when I gave that answer. Those verses are now included.

You referred to Luke 6:29. "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise" (Luke 6:27-31). The question is then: Is Jesus saying that when a Christian is a victim of a crime he is to do nothing?

The passage in Luke 6:27-31 is a part of the Sermon on the Mount, paralleling the teaching found in Matthew. "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away" (Matthew 5:38-42).

The source of the discussion was an Old Testament law, given to judges for determining sentences of convicted criminals (Exodus 21:22-25; Leviticus 24:17-22; Deuteronomy 19:16-21). It appears from Jesus’ comments that the Jews had applied these guidelines to their individual lives. If someone punched them, they felt justified in punching back so long as they didn’t exceed what the other person was attempting to do to them.

Jesus taught that rather than returning the evil done to us, we should return good instead. Luke’s account shows that this is the first application of the concept of loving your enemies. You treat people as you want people to treat you (Luke 6:31).

Followers of Christ are not to resist a wicked person; or more literally from the Greek, a Christian is not to stand against an evil person. A. T. Robertson, in his Word Pictures of the New Testament, argues that it would be better translated as a Christian not standing against the evil deed being done to him. Such makes sense, for how else is the Christian to resist Satan and his followers (James 4:7) if we are not to resist the wicked?

When cursed, a Christian should pray for the one mistreating him. If struck, he should be prepared to take another blow. It doesn’t mean he cannot protest what is being done, as Jesus himself demonstrated in John 18:22-23 and by Paul in Acts 23:2-3. It is not that a person is inviting further injury, but prepared to take it rather than retaliate. A child of God does not strike back. If it was wrong to be hit, it remains wrong to hit another.

When a person uses the courts against you to take your personal property, give more than is demanded of you. A person’s cloak is more valuable than his tunic. Under the Old Law, a person’s cloak could not be taken away from him (Exodus 22:26-27). “The idea therefore is, "Be ready to give up even that which by law can not be taken" (Mansel)” [The Four-Fold Gospel]. Jesus stated that whatever is taken away is not to be demanded back.

Under Roman law at the time, a solider on the march could ask any bystander to carry his pack, but he could not compel him to go more than one mile. Government officials could “enlist” the help of anyone in the aid of their work, such as telling a person to deliver a message no matter how inconvenient it may be for the person. It is demonstrated in what happened to Simon of Cyrene who was enlisted to carry Jesus’ cross (Matthew 27:32). Though the law can be viewed as unjust, Jesus states his followers should be willing to go beyond what is demanded of them.

When demands are placed on us, we are to be willing to give what is needed.

In each example, the personal injury might be annoying and insulting, but none are truly major. Care should be taken not to over apply the principle given beyond its intended examples. The topic is taking personal vengeance for personal slights and harm. Jesus is not talking about defending yourself or others from a robber or a murderer, but about people who don’t like you doing things to irritate you or cause you minor harm. See Self-Defense and the Use of Force for more details on this topic.

If someone is breaking the law, the proper response is not to take personal vengeance, but rather let those charged with defending the law do their job. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil" (Romans 13:3-4).