Saturday, October 27, 2012

Turn the Other Cheek (Part I)

“I can’t figure how to ‘turn the other cheek’ without being walked on.”—Katie

“Turning the other cheek” is a radical departure from our “normal” response to insult. Most of us are inclined to want to slap in return!

Why would Jesus say that the “normal” response (even if it is justified!) should not only be resisted, but should be replaced with an offer of the other cheek—and why would He make this one of His important points in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Mt. 5:38-42)?

Consider these truths:

Anger and revenge will get you nowhere. They only incite more anger and retaliation. Better, He said, to stop the anger cycle before it goes any further.

Your response says something about you. Self-discipline that does not repay a base action with a base reaction makes you a stronger person than the one who thinks he must fight to earn respect.

Vengeance is not yours to take. God will balance things out in His way, in His time. That’s what faith is about. With no retaliation, you demonstrate that you are trusting God to take care of you (Rom. 12:19; 13:4; II Thess. 3:2-3).

Humility, meekness (Gal. 5:22-23), forgiveness and graciousness are powerful forces in a world where humans seek to gain power over each other. The opposite of “being walked on,” non-retaliation will show itself to be the more powerful recourse.

Jesus demonstrated this principle at His trial and in His death (Lk. 23:1-9, 34; Mt. 26:63; 27:12; Jn. 19:9-10.) He revealed an inner strength, free from enslavement to hatred and vengefulness.

When God works in you through your faith in Him, He sets you free also. The subsequent acts of grace and forgiveness you extend will possess a redemptive message far more eloquent than retaliation could ever speak.

See Part II for a discussion on how this pertains to injustice.

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