By Allen White
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:38-39
For most of us, our natural impulse isn’t to turn the other cheek. If there’s another cheek involved, it would be attached to the offender. Our gut reaction is to either attack the other person or at least to defend ourselves. Fight or flight, right?
But, Jesus directs us to counter our gut reaction. Otherwise, we would result to the old adage of “Eye or eye, and tooth for tooth.” But, doesn’t that seem equitable? Well, until we’re all toothless and blind, that is.
Some have taken these words to mean that Christians should be pacifists. They conjure up images of wheatgrass-drinking, Birkenstocks-wearing wimps who hand out flowers rather than insults. They come across as doormats or sissies. Nobody wants to be called either, even if it fits.
Jesus isn’t telling believers just to lie down and let the opposition win. What Jesus is actually saying is, “Relax. I’ve got this one. They’re not fighting you. They’re fighting me. You don’t need to get in the middle of this. I’ll handle it.” And, handle it, He does.
I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve wanted to retaliate, defend myself, or plot something only to have Jesus tell me these exact things. The end result has always been victory. Jesus has never let me down. Even though, some situations have been hard to take, I have not lost confidence in Jesus’ ability to defend His people.
Who has slapped you across the cheek in one way or another? What’s your next step: retaliation or prayer? Pray about the retaliation before you do anything. Act wisely. If you can’t find the wisdom, ask for it (James 1:5).
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