That’s why to get the message of the sayings of Jesus from the beginning of this Gospel Passage about offering a cheek or allowing somebody to take our tunic and coat maturity is needed.
“If a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” We aren’t Israelites from Jesus’ time that’s why we don’t picture the situation. A tunic at that time it was what today we call underwear. You know, in my life a few times things have been stolen from me, but never underwear. It is even harder to imagine somebody taking you to court to get your underwear. Why is it hard for us to imagine that? Because we don’t face such forms of poverty. Jesus’ message here is not about encouraging stealing and us being passive to react to it but Our Blessed Lord tells us if there is such a drastically poverty stricken person that he or she wants to take your tunic, your underwear give to him your coat as well. It means that something wrong has gone with our community that we have allowed this to happen. But don’t apply this rule to IPads, smartphones, laptops, jewelry etc.
Another thing Jesus spoke of is this: “Offer the wicked man no resistance. If anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well.” Let me now read a couple of verses from the Chapter 18 of the Gospel of St John, it is about Jesus’ trail: “One of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand. Jesus answered him: If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Previously I spoke that laptops, jewelry etc aren’t included in what Jesus meant. It is easy to understand that. Now, when it comes to the rule about offering no resistance to somebody slapping you it is more complex. I don’t have time to explore it fully but let me give you this. If you start hurting somebody and you tell the person that as a good Christian he or she should offer you no resistance that’s a smelly situation. The same happens when somebody else starts hurting you and the person expects you to offer no resistance, it is a smelly situation. The red warning light should come on in your head then. Let’s remember that no one has any right to abuse, hurt another person physically, verbally, emotionally, spiritually etc.
Apart from that so called tolerance or acceptance of wrongdoing of a person, simply encourages evil to prevail. Remember forgiveness is not a cover for evil. As a Christian you have your right to defend yourself from hurt in a way that doesn’t add evil to evil. As a Christian you have also right to take steps that can help the wrongdoer to change. A classic example is with what in the Church we call the separation of spouses. We know that in the Catholic Church there is no divorce but even such a sacred bond as marriage cannot be used to tolerate abuse and hurt done by one party to another. That’s how we arrive at the separation. It means that all the means for change have been exhausted but it didn’t work. So now the person who is being abused or hurt should say: “I am going away to protect myself and give you a chance to fix yourself.”
That’s why holiness, perfection, maturity, in one word - TELEIOS isn’t an abstract term but it originates in God who is so TELEIOS – mature that he doesn’t manipulate people and he also doesn’t allow anyone to manipulate him. When I am asked if I am tolerant I always say: “No, I am a very intolerant person.” How come? That’s what I have learnt from Our Heavenly Father who doesn’t tolerate evil to the extent that he sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to help us mature in divine way and to help other to mature too.