Jesus said to his disciples: “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….”
In today’s first reading, we are introduced to the influences of Jezebel, the bible’s wicked witch of the Middle East. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a toothwas her motto. She coerced, seduced, and murdered her victims all for power and revenge. She is the pinnacle of unholiness and evil. A protagonist of ill will, many books and songs have been composed in her name.
Jezebel represents a rotting soul filled with greed, jealousy, hate, and revenge. By contrast, Jesus represents a blooming soul filled with love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance.
Our Lord desires for us tooffer no resistance toward one who is evil. In fact, the fruits of the Holy Spirit can help us. Saint Paul writes:
….The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)
How can we handle the nastiness of the Jezebels in our lives? How can we “keep calm and carry on” when so much evil lurks around us?
Here are some examples of how to offer no resistance under the guidance of the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Turn the other cheek (Fruits: peace, self-control) When a person strikes our right cheek with criticisms, insults, and negativity, the best thing is to remain self-controlled. Don’t return the venom. Turn the other cheek straight in their direction as if to say, “I know you’re angry with me. I’ve offended you even though I may not have meant to. You can say what you wish. I’m sorry for harm.” Many times people are ready for the brawl; however, simply acting in a passive manner throws them off guard.
Self-control allows peace to enter our hearts and minds in ways that are pleasing to the Lord.
Hand over your cloak (Fruits: gentleness, faithfulness) Many lawsuits, along with hefty legal fees, can be prevented if people settled their disagreements. Faith and trust have been violated. One party feels as if they have been cheated by another. When we acknowledge our guilt, and make amends for what we have done wrong, we demonstrate good character and judgment. Symbolically, we hand over to the prosecutor our own cloak saying, “I wish to obey the law from now on. Here is a token of my commitment.”
When we have faith in one another, we become more gentle and caring.
Walk another two miles (Fruits: patience, kindness) When we volunteer to help others in need, sometimes we are asked to commit more time than planned. Perhaps an elderly person wants to chat at the nursing home a while longer. A child asks to be read a second or third story before going to sleep. The fruit of patience encourages us to walk that extra mile. Service to others is a rewarding experience that should never be taken for granted.
Patience allows us to love and appreciate others as children of God.
Give to one who asks (Fruits: joy, generosity) When driving down the street, we may notice a homeless person holding a sign requesting a handout. A co-worker may ask to borrow $20 to fill up the gas tank. In each one of these cases, a person is asking for another’s help. We should never turn our back to others in need regardless of our dislikes or pre-conceived notions. When we wipe away our prejudices, and help others with kindness and compassion, we are filled with an inner joy.
The inner joy as a result of our generosity is truly liberating.
Life’s Jezebels Those who are evil (the Jezebels of life) will try every trick in the playbook to get us to lose our tempers, fight, argue, manipulate and hate. Don’t give into sinful temptations. Allow God to handle difficult matters in his own way and on his own time frame. The Jezebels in our lives can serve a meaningful purpose: to teach us a valuable lesson. We can learn good behavior by observing the bad deeds in others, determined not to repeat them. Best of all, we see God in action when justice is served. The wicked will not stand a chance again the Almighty power of God.
Always remember that the greatest fruit of the Holy Spirit is Love. When we love one another, including our enemies, we put on the mind of Christ. Offer no resistance and keep the Sacred Heart of Jesus nestled close to your own heart!
He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely. (Saint Catherine of Siena)