38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
At the time, this was radical teaching. Actually it’s fairly radical teaching today as well.
No one like to think they’re being taken advantage of. No one likes to believe that others would respect you if you gave in to their whims and demands. In fact, “might makes right” has ruled many societies over the centuries.
Our natural desire in those situations is to strike back and retaliate. In a foreign country many years ago a friend of mine was being confronted by someone much smaller than he was. Knowing what he knew about the culture and the role of a foreigner shown throwing a punch, my friend put his hands behinds his back so as to not appear in the least threatening. He was not struck literally, but the implication to me was clear: if the other man hit him, my friend would in no way retaliate because he was in a lose-lose situation. While it took every ounce of energy to hold this position because of his natural tendency to lash back, it was the right thing to do.
Similarly, our mindset should be similar. Retaliation or striking back (physically or verbally) is not appropriate or warranted despite what we really want to do.
Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
We are to be the “bigger man” with our non-action.