based on Matthew 5:38-48
I want to acknowledge that I’m using some notes by David Ewart – who was on staff at Naramata Centre when I attended Winter Session in 1976-77, but I first heard this understanding of this passage from Matthew from a course with Walter Wink in 2001.
Matthew 5:38-41 has a tragic history of poor translations and even worse interpretations. This passage is NOT recommending becoming a doormat; nor does it tolerate domestic violence.
First of all, the translation, “Do not resist an evildoer” fails to convey the full meaning of the underlying Greek. It would be better translated as, “Do not violently resist an evildoer.” Thus the teaching is primarily about non-violence. It is not about acquiescing to evil.