Thursday, January 30, 2014

Turning the Other Cheek

Forest Hill UMC
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  (Luke 6:27-29)
What does it mean to turn the other cheek?  I think in our macho, independent world, it sounds, at first glance, wimpy.  Does it mean to ignore when someone strikes out at you?  Does it mean, literally, to offer them another opportunity to hurt you?

Maybe in some cases it does.  That doesn't sound wimpy to me, but courageous, if it is done in service to God.  Have you seen the movie The Butler?  In it, we see several African Americans at a soda counter in the south.  White people are spitting on them, hitting them, screaming terrible things at them, and yet they sit there.  They act as if it is not happening at all  That might be an example of turning the other cheek.

In Sunday school a week or so ago, Joe said that turning the other cheek is a way to say that "I will not let the hatred you have stored in you to take up residence in me."  I like that explanation, too. We don't have to respond in the same way we have been treated.  We can respond in a way that isn't hateful - in a way that isn't a mirror of the vitriol that has been aimed at us.  We can respond in a way appropriate to what we believe, to how we have been led by God.

It isn't easy, and it isn't popular, but it is "turning the other cheek."  Do you think?



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