Friday, March 28, 2008

A victim treats his mugger right

I saw this story on today:
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

It doesn't say anywhere in the story if this man was a Christian or not, but Matthew 5:39-41 says:

"But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."

Those of you who read this blog and are Christians, what do you think? Should we take this passage literally? What would this world be like if everyone acted as this man did?

You can read the whole story here:


  1. Jesus speaks to us in many different ways if we are able and willing to listen.

  2. Nice story Erik. I actually used it in my sermon on Sunday!

    As far as your question goes, the best interpreters of the Sermon on the Mount (in my opinion) are Glen Stassen and David Gushee in "Kingdom Ethics". They take the sections as 'triads' where Jesus first states the 'traditional righteousness' (you have heard it said...), then states the 'vicious cycle' (what happens when we live according to the traditional righteousness), then finally gives 'transforming initiatives' (ways of living that break the vicious cycles). Their key insight is that the only imperatives/commands in the Greek are in the 'transforming initiatives' section. The passage you quote is one of the transforming initiatives, so yes, I think this is a command to follow, though one that has to be contextualized into present day realities.

  3. Thanks for the insight Corey.