God, revealed in Christ and through the Scriptures, has made it clear how Christians should respond to the evil present in the world and often aimed at them. Still, the church struggles to distinguish between her unique cruciform calling and the vengeance-logic of the world. Thus, I love the metaphor given by Raniero Cantalamessa (see quote below): the church should be a black hole for evil. Following Jesus’ example, Christians should be people skilled at categorically stopping the cycle of violence in themselves. In this way, we follow the example of Jesus before us.
“How does one become a peacemaker? One way, significantly important in itself, is not to be a spreader of evil: Don’t be an agent of the accuser, don’t be a sower of darnel or bad seed, don’t spread news of evil. We need to be ‘the end of the track,’ the terminus, for any gossip we hear, for any ugly word, hostile judgement, criticism. The terminus is the place where the train or the bus stops and goes no further. We need to be like ‘black holes’ for evil, vortices that swallow everything and allow nothing whatsoever to pass by and continue on its way. Of course, to be a peacemaker means more than just that; it means to take the initiative in the matter of peace, to do what you can to promote justice. But we must be careful not to let these aspects obscure the other, the simpler and narrower strategy of ‘don’t spread evil,’ which is always open to everyone.”
[Raniero Cantalamessa, Come, Creator Spirit, 317]
“Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” Jesus, Matthew 5:39
“Do not repay evil with evil….
Do not become overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Paul, Romans 12:17,21