Jesus had insight, not only into “soft power”, but further into “weak power”. It seems like an oxymoron, but that’s precisely the point: Everything has its unfair advantages, especially the underdog. Exploit the unfair advantages of your situation.
This involves shrewdness, something Jesus celebrated. “Vicious as snakes, yet innocent as doves.” Viciousness—shrewdness—is a vital virtue of the kingdom. Religious cultures often revere hyper-honesty to a point of naivety, where they easily succumb to charlatans and con artists. This is another man-made system of morals. Don’t buy it.
Be cunning. Be shrews. Be vicious. Be plain and powerful. Just don’t be dishonest. This is the teaching of Jesus.
Let wicked people’s imaginations fill in the gaps as their creative listening wants. Herod did that with Jesus, thinking him a “fool” because he wouldn’t speak.
Jesus’s “shrewd servant”parable celebrated a sell-off to make lasting friends.
Jesus taught to carry a soldier’s weapons beyond the legal one-mile limit he could force upon a civilian: Carry it two and watch his popularity sink. Do the same if someone sues for your cloak—a greedy move—, give him your tunic also, stand trial in your undies.
The key to shrewdness is a willingness to make sacrifices yourself, sell-off your own property, get your hands dirty, break a sweat, and do some hard work. Consider a few modern day scenarios.
If someone steals your intellectual property, go open source rather than lawsuit; they won’t be able to compete. Thieves don’t know how to invent things, you do. Going open source will turn the guy tho stole your stuff into free advertising for your next invention.
Gandhi sparked India’s independence one person at a time. England invaded Scotland, then the Scottish burned their own cornfields, England hurt more. When the US government insisted ketchup companies no longer use chemical preservatives, Heinz invented the idea of vinegar and sugar for modern ketchup, the others fought the government and went out of business, ketchup was remade.
Reinvent yourself, use “weak power”, walk the miles, don’t fear taking a hit just to survive. This is different from going nuclear or kamikaze and a much better way to get out from under a bully.
Proverbs 25:21-22, Matthew 5:38-48; 10:16, Luke 16:9, Romans 12:20