By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE have to be ready to make the proper reaction when we are confronted with evil in any form. We cannot deny that in our life, we cannot avoid some evil. It’s a fact of life that we should learn how to deal with properly.
And the way to do it is what Christ himself said. “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil,” he said.
And he continued: “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” (Mt 5,38-42)
It’s important that we be very familiar with this indication directly spelled out to us by Christ. We need to study how we can develop the relevant attitude, practices and virtues for us to follow this Christian precept.
I imagine that whenever we are wronged by someone, our spontaneous reaction may be that of anger, hatred, revenge and the like. But we should not allow ourselves to stay long there. We need to rectify ourselves, and always asking for God’s grace, make the effort to understand and reach out to the party involved with the intention to help even as we try to clarify the issue at hand.
We can always pray and offer sacrifices for that person. That’s the least that we can do for him. But we have to be ready to follow the example of Christ who in the end simply offered his life on the cross, offering forgiveness to those who crucified him, and conquering all the sins and malice of men through his passion, death and resurrection.
Obviously, for us to have this kind of reaction, we really need to be identified with Christ. Only with him can we manage to be magnanimous and merciful even as we encounter all kinds of injustice and evil in our life.
This is a very intriguing part of our Christian faith. Not only should we love our enemies, as Christ taught us, but we also need to drown evil with an abundance of good. This was specifically articulated by St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans where he said:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Rom 12,17-20)
We have to try our best to erase whatever disbelief, doubt or skepticism we can have as we consider this teaching, since most likely, our first and spontaneous reaction to it would precisely be those conditions. We can ask, even if done only interiorly, “Is Christ really serious about this? Can this thing that Christ and St. Paul are telling us, possible, doable?”
When these reactions come to us, it is time to remind ourselves that we just have to follow our faith that definitely contains a lot of mysteries and things supernatural that we are not expected to understand fully. Like Our Lady and all the saints, we should just believe and do what we are told because it is Christ who said so, and because it is the Church that teaches us so.