Remember the scene out of Forrest Gump (1994), where Forrest says, “Stupid is as stupid does”? It may have multiple meanings, for instance, if someone is stupid they will do stupid things.
I want to explore another parallel; something completely different—the phenomena of resistance begetting resistance—how it runs against forgiveness.
It’s common in family or domestic violence situations for the victim to react to the aggression against them in some sort of resistance. Just the same, it’s very common for any of us to mount resistance against any sort of oppression. This is human nature at work.
To go long in the journey with God, however, we must go beyond resistance, through understanding resistance and, really importantly, why we resist, which is critical in the commencement of the true spiritual journey. Unless we understand this concept of resistance we will fail in understanding why we must go beyond it in journeying with Christ.
Some say an “An Eye for An Eye”
There are many more people on this earth who believe in, and insist upon, a retributive justice. They believe it works. They believe it is right. They believe it is necessary.
But it neither works, nor is right, nor is necessary.
Retributive justice—where we might resist for resistance’ sake—merely prolongs the fatigue. It drags out an otherwise hopelessly forlorn battle. But true justice is meted out when we make room for God; when our thoughts for resistance give way to the mercy of his grace. But we must accept that a win for us is also a win for them. (It’s what we should want, when our hearts are right before God.)
An eye for an eye seems the right method to humankind. Resistance is as resistance does. But then what happens? The other person responds likewise and no meeting of the minds is possible. This explains, in simplistic terms, much of the world’s conflict with itself. For instance, take Kashmir, the disputed land that both Pakistan and India lay claim to. Neither party is willing to budge.
A Better Justice
When we rise above the need to resist we offer ourselves portions of God’s freedom.
Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually we are neutral and well placed. We enjoy good sight because we are not plagued by forethought for what we must do in gaining retribution (read also “control”).
This better justice offers something quite unexpected to the other party, also. They had expected retribution from us, or it least resistance. Having instead offered them a merciful grace they are left enquiring, “Why?”
“Why has this quite absurd justice—a justice more than I deserve—been given to me?”
This is where Christ had his opportunity to penetrate their heart. We have evangelised through forgiveness. When we could have resisted, instead we thank God for the power to please him by offering love to the one who offered us hate.
Resistance is the easy answer in conflict. A better answer, however, a better justice, is to offer a merciful grace—whatever has come against us. Forgiveness is the prison door key when a life sentence might otherwise be (self) imposed.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.