Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Commands of Jesus: Turn The Other Cheek

"But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." - Matthew 5:39

Have you ever been slapped in the face? I haven't. Maybe I just never did anything bad enough to warrant being slapped. I have been SPANKED but never slapped.

Even though I have never experienced being slapped I am pretty sure I would NOT willingly desire to be slapped in the face again. I base this on my experience of being spanked as a disobedient child. I never said, "Thank you, may I have another?" Getting spanked brings a whole new meaning to turning the other "cheek." So what exactly did Jesus mean when He commanded us to turn the other cheek?

I think what Jesus is looking for is for us to be slow to act out in anger. At least initially. But I also think He wants us to go beyond that. To think before we act. Maybe by turning the other cheek we have an opportunity to do that.

I also think that by turning the other cheek we have an opportunity to demonstrate to our "slapper" that we love them too much to slap them back. I guess what I am trying to say is that . . . what would Jesus do in that situation. Let's go to the Bible. We are going to read about Jesus being questioned near the end of His life. He is about to get slapped.

"19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest."
  - John 18:19-24

Jesus did not retaliate against His captors. He reasoned with them. He made them think.

When people hurt us do we strike back at them? I have seen many people doing this very thing on Facebook. They lash out at who ever hurt them. By doing so thay aren't doing ANYBODY any good.

I think what Jesus wants us to do when someone hurts us is to not say anything. Let them not see that we have been hurt at all. In fact, I think Jesus would want us to pray for the person who just hit us.

"43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," - Matthew 5:43-44

The next time someone attacks you, either physically or emotionally, don't strike back. Instead pray for them. Ask them what's wrong, that they would lash out at you. Jesus wants us to love our neighbors but that is a story from a future installment of The Commands of Jesus.

Time for a tough question. In light of this command from Jesus, to turn the other cheek, to not retaliate against our enemies, what do you think we as a nation should have done after 9/11? Should we have done nothing? Did we act appropriately in God's eyes? I'm not saying we did wrong. Perhaps we were being used by God to punish the people who killed innocent people. Did the leaders of our country ask us to pray for our enemies? Something to think about.

Budweiser Superbowl Commercial 2011

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