from The Narrow Way of Self-Denial
by David J. Stutzman
translated from Der Schmale Verleugnungsweg
by Mary Schlabach
edited by Gerald J. Biesecker-Mast

The true example of nonresistant Christians can be found first in our Redeemer, described by the four gospels and foretold by the prophets: "He was oppressed and he was afflicted; yet, he opened not his mouth.  He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." (Isa. 53:7).  "Who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, He threatened not, but committed himself to him that judges righteously." (1 Peter 2:23).

We could continue into more lengthy details of what Jesus taught us in word and deed concerning nonresistance, but  instead of quoting all of it I wish to continue with John the Baptist and the apostles and disciples of Christ of whom we can read in detail in Acts, how they suffered disgrace and punishment patiently until death, without being revengeful whatsoever.

We also see in dear Paul a very good example of meekness and nonresistance when he was terribly persecuted and cast out by the common people, for he says "From the Jews I received 40 stripes, less one, five times. I was scourged three times and stoned once." Still he never tried to take vengeance towards those who wronged him.

In Romans 12:19 he also says, "Dearly beloved avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written, 'vengeance is mine, I will repay' says the Lord." Hence we see that he gave all judgment and sentence into the hands of Him who judges righteously.

We can also see how our dear martyrs practiced nonresistance, as many times they walked into the hands of their captors and freely surrendered to being in bonds and in prisons even though they were truly innocent.  Often when they were sentenced to the stake, they hurriedly and joyfully advanced to the place of execution, not having to be forced and humbly letting the people exercise their revengeful deeds.  During all this they were able to praise God for dying a martyr's death and prove their unshakeable faith in their Savior.  Instead of imposing evil thoughts and deeds upon their enemies, many times they would kneel with folded hands in prayer, in the sight of the executioners, praying for Caesar and the judges, testifying thereby that they had no vengeance towards their enemies, but wished them well concerning their salvation according to God's will.

first published in 1917