But I tell you, don’t stand up against an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also. If someone wants to sue you in court and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven.
—Matthew 5:39-40, 44-45
Man, Matthew 5 is a hard, hard part of the Bible. Turn the other cheek? Sure, it might sting for a bit and hurt my pride. I can grudgingly go along with that one. Let my enemy have their way in court? This one hits much closer to home. Literally. I’ve been threatened with a lawsuit in the past. Letting them have their way would mean losing my house, losing my life savings, ending up on the street homeless and penniless and jobless.
Following Jesus could turn out to be a lot harder than I thought.
And yet there are followers of Jesus in Egypt and Syria and Iraq and India that have had their homes torched by mobs, their children abducted as slaves, their spouses murdered. All because of their faith. Often the suffering of Christians around the world is an abstraction; they’re in a different culture, speak a different language, live a long way away from my comfortable Western upbringing. But the same Scripture that compels them to endure suffering for their faith also speaks to me.