“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Matthew 5:38-47
It still amazes me that the Church completely ignores what Jesus taught us. He taught explicitly that we are to love our enemies and not retaliate with violence. He gave no other options but to return love for evil. Why is it that Christians believe they are justified by bragging about a sniper who killed hundreds and maybe even thousands of people? This clearly violates Christ's teachings.
Yes there is violence and killing in the Bible but one must look at that violence and killing clearly and understand that each time it happened was at the hands of humans who understood that God wanted them to do that. Then we get to Jesus, who is God incarnate, and was sent to Earth to save humans from our sin, so in other words humans had obviously gone astray to what God had intended and Jesus taught us the right way. Jesus' whole teaching was set out in his Sermon on the Mount located in Matthew 5. He teaches us that we've been taught that we should love our friends and hate our enemies but he says that's not right that we are to love our friends and enemies because we are a holy people -- a people set apart. He goes on to say that if we only love those who are our friends how does that set us apart from the gentiles who do that as well. We are called, as Christ followers, to a higher standard of loving both our friends and our enemies and to never return violence with violence. He actually calls us to do more than that by giving the person who would take your coat your shirt also, etc.
People often reply that is is ridiculus and is some perfect ideal of life and no one could possibly do this and survive. I say that we aren't called to survive but to love and did not Christ say that,
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.
There are also plenty of examples of people following Christ's command to Love our friends and enemies and how it works. There is the story of the nonviolent resistance during World War II, a story that should be taught and retaught by the Church, involves the Protestant community of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in central France, a Huguenot town of about 3,000 residents, during its occupation by Nazi Germany in 1940-1944. Villagers in Le Chambon placed their lives on the line in order to offer safe haven to Jewish, Eastern European, and other refugees from the Nazi campaign of extermination. These people of faith serve as a model of Christian discipleship in a time of peril. Upon Marshal Philippe Pétain’s signing of the Armistice in 1940 – a treaty that created the Vichy government of France following its military defeat by Germany – André Trocmé, the pastor of the Huguenot community of Le Chambon, preached to his congregation that “the duty of Christians requires acts of resistance through weapons of the spirit.” Instead of accepting Vichy collaboration with the Nazis, Trocmé encouraged the Chambonnais to refuse to “give up their consciences, to participate in hatred, betrayal and murder.” The community responded by reaching out to their Jewish brothers and sisters.
Also more recently the story of Ashely Smith in Atlanta, GA who convinced Brian Nichols to turn himself in after escaping from his trial and killing the judge and several other people in 2005. She cooked him breakfast, read from A Purpose Driven Life, and talked to him about her struggles with drugs. He turned himself in with no further injuries and confessed to his crimes.
In the end I have to ask as Jesus did,
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24