Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.
Jesus, we believe, is telling us not to exact vengeance on another fellow imperfect sinful human for transgressions done to us. Instead, He is showing the importance of the law of love, rather than the absolute Old Testament law of justice that resulted in a hardness of heart. Not exacting vengeance does not mean that we do nothing when evil is perpetuated against us. Matthew 5:38-45 describes an inner selfless love and understanding of a fellow sinner and illustrates figuratively what the Christian’s heart attitude should be in regard to those who persecute or do evil against him personally.
The Apostle Paul in Romans 12:19-21 sums up what the Christian’s attitude and actions should be. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.’ . . . Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”
You wanted to know if Jesus’ statement to not resist an evil act by a person would actually cause evil to thrive. We believe Jesus’ statement is not directed to a moment of crisis where action is needed to protect or defend one’s self or another’s and, therefore, thwart evil. The statement, instead, is in reference to each of us personally. When we are assaulted or persecuted, what should our attitude be? We should “hate what is evil and cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9) and not repay anyone evil for evil (Romans 12:17).
It is our firm belief that Jesus never taught us to let evil thrive. Rather his teachings were to help us in our battles against evil—not to fight evil with evil, but to fight it with righteousness and mercy as we take a stand for what is good in the sight of God, even if that stand may mean our own personal demise.