Jesus expanded the Hebrew teaching of “You shall not murder” to include anger, insults and disrespect. He suggested, “Do not resist an evil doer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also” (Matthew 5:38, 39. Follow the link to read all of Matthew 5). (See interpretation of this passage under Introduction: Teachings About Peace)

An old farmer stated to [Clarence Jordan] with obvious distaste: “I heard you won’t fight.”

Clarence replied: “Who told you that? We sure will fight.”

Surprised, the farmer said: “Well, you won’t go in the Army, will you?”

Clarence said: “No, we don’t fight that way. Let me explain. You see that mule over there? Well, if that mule bit you, you wouldn’t bite it back, would you?”

“Nope.” The farmer allowed, “I’d hit him with a two-by-four.”

“Exactly,” Clarence replied. “You wouldn’t let that mule set the level of your encounter with him. You would get a weapon a mule couldn’t use and knock his brains out. That’s what Christians are supposed to do-they are supposed to use weapons of love and peace and goodwill, weapons that the enemy can’t handle.”

Excerpt from “Cotton Patch Justice, Cotton Patch Peace” by Ann Coble, Prism, Sept/Oct 1998. Clarence Jordan is the founder of Koinonia Partners.

This means not hitting back when someone else hits you, but it also means, in a larger sense, not trying to get even with someone. Jesus is telling people not to respond with violence, vengeance and selfishness.