"RESIST NOT EVIL" - What Does It REALLY Mean? - Rebuilding the Man
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“RESIST NOT EVIL” – What Does It REALLY Mean?

This is a brief video we made in hopes of causing people to question things for themselves. Many times people hear and agree with some wise statement, quote, or Bible verse, and repeat it. But they never question whether the truly understand the depths of the meaning.

For example, you may have heard the verse where Jesus said, “Resist not evil.”

“But I say unto you, That you resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)

Have you ever wondered what that meant?

It simply means, “Don’t hate it.” Do not be angry, judge, or resent it. Anger, resentment, or judgment are what allow evil to rule over you.

To read more about how to overcome anger and evil, read The Antidote: Healing America from the Poison of Hate, Blame and Victimhood.

If you want to discuss this or other spiritual or biblical questions, come to Church or BOND Men’s Forum, or call-in to Jesse’s radio show. You can also comment below. And if you support what we’re about, please donate to BOND.

28 Comments
  • maggie
    Posted at 19:57h, 20 September

    thankyou for this post. it has really helped me to understand this admonition.

    • James Hake
      Posted at 10:49h, 30 September

      That’s great, Maggie. I really appreciated his explanation on it as well. -James (with BOND)

  • Ranjeeth Thunga
    Posted at 02:33h, 05 October

    Very nice, simple explanation of what happens when we fight back against evil. We very well end up become the evil we are resisting.

  • Seba Stian
    Posted at 05:38h, 26 November

    It’s really very simple. Only when you stop judging war and violence to be “wrong” or “bad” and understand and embrace them as perfect, along with everything else in your hologram, will you stop resisting them, at which point they no longer need to persist.

    Jesus said…

    “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”

    So it’s not just about not resisting. It’s about embracing what you resist; about not trying to fix or change or improve something, but about realizing it is all perfect, war and violence included. That’s what “what you resist persists” means.

    And what is there to resist? Every experience you have, down to the smallest detail, was created for you by your…( whoever you call it Some people call it God, I call it My Infinite I.).., so why resist it? What are you actually saying when you resist an experience? You’re saying your Infinite I got it wrong and you don’t trust it.

  • Roberta Thumbpuddle
    Posted at 12:41h, 02 December

    Wow! It occurs to me that this whole RESIST MOVEMENT, which is all about resisting Donald Trumo and his administration…. it is a movement just filled with anger, hatred and vitriol! Everyone in the movement is just absolutely brimming over with anger and hatred…… they are CONSUMED by their anger and hatred. IT IS NOT A PLEASANT THING TO BE AROUND THE PEOPLE IN THIS MOVEMENT. THEY HAVE BECOME EXACTLY LIKE WHAT THEY THINK THEY ARE RESISTING. .

    • James Hake
      Posted at 15:55h, 07 December

      Interesting! Thanks, Roberta!

    • Gina
      Posted at 22:30h, 12 February

      Wow! So right on and well said.

  • Yaqob T Makuannen
    Posted at 06:24h, 14 December

    Peace, brother. I am prophet Yaqob, I was in the spirit this morning and the angel comforted about the mistake I made concerning my wife, realizing this mistake I was lead to your talk on angry. The angelic voice said get your tabet
    I have your answer. Then I saw you Pastor Jesse. WELL
    DONE, FAITHFUL SERVANT.

  • Antonio Mason
    Posted at 13:41h, 23 February

    God bless. In the book of Luke 17:1, Jesus stated that, “It is inevitable that offenses will come,” meaning that it is impossible to avoid people who will offend you. I will add to what was declared. When Jesus declared, “resist not evil” this means that if we start resisting evil, we will start to believe that we must always be on guard against people who would bring evil to us, essentially hardening our heart to everyone and shutting off our love for those who need help, because we’ll believe that everyone will bring evil our way. Essentially we must have a forgiving heart, knowing that if we do not forgive, we will not be FORGIVEN as Jesus stated in Matthew 6:15.

    • James Hake
      Posted at 10:25h, 22 March

      Interesting, thanks for the comments, Antonio.

  • Kevin Donnelly
    Posted at 11:24h, 04 April

    Thank you. In my town, Ellensburg, Washington, on Friday and Saturday, will be a demonstration by the Patriot Prayer group. Despite their name, demonstrations by these folks- a far right, guns rights, anti-woman group- has often led to hateful confrontation and violence. I am torn- as I often am- between counter-demonstrating vs. “Resist not Evil” and letting it blow-over. When, and how, do we confront narrow-minded hatred and racism/sexism?

    • James Hake
      Posted at 14:11h, 14 June

      Kevin, if they’re wrong, you tell them how they’re wrong. You needn’t worry about “racism/sexism” which don’t exist; it’s either right or wrong. That group you named, to my knowledge, has only fought with the violent leftist group Antifa who attack them first. So as long as you avoid areas where Antifa is, you should be okay.

  • Karen Evans
    Posted at 03:26h, 18 May

    This really help me understand this scripture. Thank you

    • Brian Jett
      Posted at 00:31h, 02 July

      You can understand this without asking for someone to tell you. Read John 5:39-40. Jeremiah 31:34 and John 6:45 which say the same things. And 1 John 2:27. You will NEVER hear a pastor speak of these in church. That’s a threat to his finite job security. Stop rejecting the kingdom of heaven within you as Jesus even said it. The oxygen you breathe is Infinite Love. God is a noun and might be way up there but NOT Spirit and Truth that is in EVERYTHING. Colossians 1:25-18, In 1850, Alabama Protestants suddenly got unglued and deemed the Bible inerrant. Look it up. Same time, infallible Pope. What’s missing? Inner authority and infinite LOVE within. This IS within you — SEE. It’s all about HOW to see, metanoia and WAKING UP. Infinite love has infinity to resist the hateful biblical scribes finite conclusions. Saying God is long-suffering but can’t wait for ever. WHAT? Infinite Love doesn’t even need patience as an attribute inasmuch as infinite patience is infinite patience and anything other non-infinite patience isn’t infinite and moreover requires some kind of seen punishment and outcome. How can infinite Love require any outcome? That’s absurd.

  • James D.Wedell
    Posted at 19:13h, 30 May

    “Inferior” persons were slapped with the back of the hand. If you show the other cheek anyone observing would think you are an “equal”. Equals would be slapped with an open hand.

  • A LH
    Posted at 14:25h, 20 July

    Thank you for explaining this verse I am studying this chapter for tomorrow’s lesson and was stumped ?. I am very thankful for God that He used you to post your video to explain thoroughly His word. God bless!

  • Kim Magnuson
    Posted at 13:23h, 13 August

    I am really not too sure why some have been confused. Resist not evil along with the statement to turn the other cheek is a command by Jesus to just turn the cheek, expose it to the evildoer and let him/her deal with just seeing the other cheek. What happens to you is immaterial. It is why Jesus said to love your enemy even though in our “earthly” kingdom this may result in losing ones’ life. The anabaptists have it right. We cannot serve both kingdoms and being in Jesus’ kingdom means abiding by Jesus’ teachings. I believe it was Conrad Grebel who stated once that “the teachings of our Lord are to be put into practice.”

  • David
    Posted at 09:50h, 04 November

    I am a christian who goes to church weekly since 1974, When I was 14, two large men tried to rape me. I escaped. If Jesus thinks I should not have resisted, then I reject Jesus and all Christians. I forgave those men and when I could have easily reported to them to vigilantes that might have killed them. We must resist evil. Should we have given the world to the Nazi’s? I think not. Not all biblical passages are literal. Thank God.

    • James Hake
      Posted at 21:34h, 10 February

      David, that’s not what that means. Did you hear Jesse’s explanation in the video?

  • Ivory Crampton
    Posted at 05:59h, 12 February

    When Christ said ‘resist not evil’, I believe he was saying don’t use similar tactics. We must resist evil but use measures that disarm and undercut those who are evil. Nowhere do I see Jesus saying that we should just allow anything to occur without protest or a proactive movement against it. I saw where someone inevitably remarked on resistance to Trump re this passage and how that was sinful, angry, etc. Wherever evil flourishes, we are compelled to stand against it, to point it out loudly, to show the better way of Christ. The character of Christ is our yardstick for leaders. No way God approves of hate, lies, abuse of power, abuse of persons through our ability to affect their jobs, family livelihoods, children in cages, strangers disallowed by only color or ethnicity, corruption, use of the public purse to enrich oneself, consistently speaking profane words about those who oppose your actions, etc. Do dot resist evil has been poorly understood and taught in the American Christian church.

  • Roger Frost
    Posted at 05:24h, 23 February

    when evil confronts the christian the christian must never renig, do not pick the fruit as Adam did

  • Gerry McGregor
    Posted at 11:17h, 27 April

    why were we commanded to resist the evil one James 4 vs 7??

    • James Hake
      Posted at 12:10h, 23 June

      This is not contradicting that, Gerry. This is a reference to Matthew 5 verse 39, in which Jesus tells people not to resist an evil man. Don’t be hung up on words and intellectualism such that you miss the meaning!

    • Clint
      Posted at 04:38h, 07 July

      Seba,

      If you really hold this position, how do you reconcile it against James 4:1-7?

      “Whence come wars and whence come fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your pleasures that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and covet, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war; ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures. Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God. Or think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto envying? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore the scripture saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
      ‭‭
      Two things that jump off the page: 1. James is unquestionably pleading with the listener to resist the worlds ways and systems. That includes it’s ways in resolving personal conflict. Wars between governments can be justified at times. Personal retaliation is different. 2. He says to RESIST the devil, who is the author of evil, and he will actually flee from you. Not EMBRACE… RESIST.

      Why would Jesus say EXPLICITLY, not to resist an evil person, and to avoid retaliation, if He really meant the opposite? Unless Jesus is speaking in parables, you should virtually always take His words at face value.

  • German L Gonzalez Sr
    Posted at 22:10h, 05 May

    Like right now, I witnessed evil, in it’s purest form… Insulting the Righteousness, of this beautiful land and Christian rooted people, in support of President Trump,?… Not only a Child or Children of GOD: But also the President GOD: Elected… Was insulted by false statements made towards those who Love their enemies…. With out you, won’t be a me, Loving GOD:
    Thank YOU JESUS!!!!!!!

    Praises GOD: I Love my JESUS…..
    I Love my FATHER: I love my first ?? flag, this Land and my American people…
    Make America Great Again, stop the hatred, enter the Gate with The LOVE Of CHRIST….

    Shalom, to all my Christian Brothers and Sisters around the world…….
    Vote Trump 2020. Let’s make America great again…….

  • John Magee
    Posted at 04:47h, 01 September

    Standing on the corner protesting the killing of black people, I hear hate coming from some cars that pass. When I respond by shouting back, it immediately triggers anger. .This is a real thing. When I retreat to pick weeds from the flower bed for a few moments and regain equanimity, I can go back to the line and take up my non violent direct action campaign. Jesus knew anger was a part of being human and that dealing with it was difficult. I’’m glad he left some helpful instruction

    • James Hake
      Posted at 09:21h, 27 September

      Thanks for the interesting comments, John. Call-in to The Jesse Lee Peterson Show (for current events, religious, or personal questions and comments), or to Church with Jesse Lee Peterson (for personal and relationship help), to discuss what’s going on with the black community, and about Jesus and anger. 888-77-JESSE (1-888-775-3773) Mon-Fri 6-9 AM Pacific Time (California time), or for Church-related questions Sunday 11 AM – 12:30 PM PT.

  • Noah Edelson
    Posted at 20:53h, 21 January

    It isn’t common for those within our liberal communities to realize that they too are filled with hatred and vitriol, and use labels to destroy the credibility and reduce the humanity of those they persecute. Thank you commenters for noticing that.

    Often they try to justify their anger by saying they are protecting groups of people who were in recent times gassed or hung from trees or burned at the stake by angry mobs of folks wearing white sheets or soldier’s uniforms with metal belt buckles enscribed “Gott mt Uns” (God’s with *US*). I suppose you could make the case that the guys in white sheets (who persist today as members of Qanon and similar groups) are also quite resentful and angry. By joining either side in their moral outrage we reduce our own capabilities of empathy and rationality.

    It is a prideful thing to say “well I had to fight back, there was no other option” – when we could have run away, or simply accepted the beating; knowing other folks would sanction our transgressors for their violence in a fashion more debilitating for them than the injuries they would have sustained if we had returned their violence.

    This is why pacifism is often the most effective and practical solution in the face of violence. It doesn’t feel nearly as satisfying as vengeance, but it happens to work- and as a bonus; its what Jesus wants of us.

    If you read Hitler’s awful book (I have) – you will notice he devotes a great deal of energy to hating on pacifism and pacifists, and also Jews and atheists and Marxists.- he tended to wrap them into one group of super-weak and super-wicked people. The Vatican, to their shame, refused to ex-communicate him or annul the pact that they had signed with him at the start of the war, perhaps thinking he would win the fight against the Godless communists.* He didn’t..

    *The US and UK chipped in too. We were responsible for 20% of the Nazi losses when combined with those the French, Polish, and everybody else.. This shows, to an extent at least- that the USA didn’t resist evil when it bared its head. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Front_%28World_War_II%29#Results

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