(Disclaimer: This post will mean little if you do not copy and paste the link and watch the clip below!)
We are in the middle of a study of the Sermon on the Mount in my Gospels classes. We are taking five reading quizzes over Matthew chapters 5-7. In a preview before the Christmas holidays, I told the kids that many in the world believe Jesus' teachings here set impossible standards and cannot be taken too literally. There have been predictable questions, on adultery particularly, both in the sense of divorce and in the arena of lust. On Thursday as the kids were reading before I handed out the quiz, Tre' put his hand up and said,
"Coach, I'm really having a problem with 'do not resist an evil person.' "
The words Tre' referenced are from the larger section on retaliation in Matthew 5:38-40 where Jesus teaches,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, 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."
We talked about it briefly but I wanted to give them more of a real-life example. I found the following three minute video on wingclips that is taken from the 1994 movie, The War, starring Kevin Costner. I haven't seen the film but Wikipedia tells me that Costner's character, Stephen, has been in a mental institution due to issues dealing with his combat experience in Vietnam. He and his children are neighbors to a poor family, the Lipnickis, who have a horrible reputation, well-deserved, I might add. The scene is a volatile situation on the street with Mr. Lipnicki trying to provoke a fight with Stephen and Stephen doing everything he can to avoid conflict and walk away. I had them write after we completed the clip, asking if they believed Stephen abided by the teachings of Jesus here. I haven't read/graded them yet but from our short discussion, most believe he did, at least to the end, where Stephen's final words to Mr. Lipnicki caused some consternation. I asked if they had tried to walk away from people causing them trouble only to find their troublers followed them- some said they had. We talked about whether you can use force, even violence, to defend your family- they unanimously believe you can and must. What I'm trying to get them to see is that if we are Christians, the teachings of Jesus cannot simply exist in a spiritual vacuum- they have to have application even when we walk down the street, or down the hallways of school. And some say that is why it simply is not practical- it's just too hard. So was taking up a cross.
Copy and paste the link below to watch a short clip from The War:
Applicable quote of the day:
Turn the other cheek too often and you get a razor through it.
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