Friday, May 22, 2009

Tertullian: how can Christians be evil?

May 22, 2009

    [Jesus:] "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
    -- Matthew 5:38,39 (NIV)

    Evil-doers delight in hiding themselves; shun appearing; are bewildered when discovered; being accused, deny; not even when tortured, readily or always confess; certainly mourn when condemned; sum up against themselves, impute either to fate or to the stars the impulses of a wicked mind; for they will not have that to be their own, which they acknowledge to be evil. But what doth the Christian like this? None is ashamed, none repenteth, save that he was not such long ago. If he be marked down, he glorieth; if accused, maketh no defense; being questioned, confesseth even of his own accord; being condemned, giveth thanks. What manner of evil is this, which hath not the natural marks of evil, fear, shame, shrinking, penitence, sorrow? What manner of evil is this, whereof he that is accused rejoiceth?
    ... Tertullian (160?-230?), Tertullian: Apologetic and practical treatises, Oxford: J. H. Parker, 1842, p. 3 (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant Your people gentleness.

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