Fight? Flight? …a third way

We are often taught and think intuitively that there are two ways to resist violence or oppression – Fight or Flight. In the FIGHT mode, we retaliate, get back, seek revenge, or we want an eye-for-an-eye plus punishment. In the FLIGHT mode, we run, escape, ignore, never speak to them again, or avoid facing the challenge. One of the failings of this is that it can leave them thinking that they were right in the first place and that they have won, conquered, succeeded and that they should deal with others like that in the future.

Jesus teaches us a third way, the way of non-violence. Through creative, non-violent, enemy love we are taught and shown in Mat 5 vs 38 – 48 how we can challenge those in power. Here are some keys from Walter Wink’s commentary on this text:
• Seize the moral initiative
• Find a creative alternative to violence
• Assert your own humanity and dignity as a person
• Meet force with ridicule or humor
• Break the cycle of humiliation
• Refuse to submit or to accept the inferior position
• Expose the injustice of the system
• Take control of the power dynamic
• Shame the oppressor into repentance
• Stand your ground
• Make the Powers make decisions for which they are not prepared
• Recognize your own power
• Be willing to suffer rather than retaliate
• Force the oppressor to see you in a new light
• Deprive the oppressor of a situation where a show of force is effective
• Be willing to undergo the penalty of breaking unjust laws
• Die to fear of the old order and its rules
Walter Wink – The Powers that Be: Theology for a New Millennium