27“But I say to you who hear,
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
29To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.
30Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
31And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.
35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most-High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
36Be merciful, even as your father is merciful.
Continuing with his preaching on the beatitudes, after giving hope to the people who are righteous and suffer poverty, adversity and persecution unjustly; Lord Jesus proceeded to proclaim to the crowds, the law of love, forgiveness and detachment that is the base of the Kingdom of God.
Contrary to the natural impulse of ‘getting back’ at those who abuse us, robe us and attack us; which by natural law and reason would not be wrong; Jesus tells of another path, based on love, forgiveness and generosity.
Where reason tells us to strike back on those who attack us; Jesus tells us to forgive, using the symbolic expression to ‘give the other cheek’.
When we are abused or robed, instead of getting back at the abusers or thieves, Jesus tells us to forgive them, and do not attempt to persecute them legally or on a personal level, by using the expression ‘don’t withhold your tunic’, or ‘don’t demand them back’.
Jesus makes us realize that by answering back, even though we can do it legally and in good conscience, we are becoming part of a system of effect and reaction, that never ends by itself, but fueled up by resentment, it keeps rolling until an external force or we ourselves stop it.
If someone evil robs us, and we denounce them, we will get out goods back, and the perpetrator will suffer jail term. When he gets out, as nothing more of what was expected occurred, the thief will steal again, motivated by his own initial reasons and by the environment. BUT if we decide to forgive him, he will be shocked by this unexpected reaction, and hopefully be moved to change, since he knows that he deserves punishment, and the victim forgave him, being able to denounce the crime legally speaking.
Whether the thief decides to continue his crimes on others or not, the possibility to change continues; since with our forgiveness we have stopped the wheel of Cause and Effect on our part. We have walked out of the system of retribution, putting our trust in God’s wisdom instead than on our own human criteria.
Jesus points out that this forgiving attitude, is what makes the difference between Christians and non-believers. Forgiveness and love affect us all in a positive way, causing a change in attitude always, whether we get to know it or not. Wisely, Lord Jesus tells us that this forgiving and loving reaction is what distinguishes the ‘Children of the Most-High’, when believers decide to react ‘like God does’, in a loving and merciful manner.