“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too!” Matthew 5:38-39. CJB.
So in jail there are fights. Someone says something someone else doesn’t like or does something to someone else that is an offense. The recipient retaliates things escalate and then there is a fight.
Same in the world outside jail.
Offenses are committed all the time. Bad words spoken, stealing, infidelity, lies, hurtful acts of one upon another.
Are we to ignore these things when they happen to us or return hurt for hurt. Cause that’s what we’re talking about here isn’t it? “I’ll get him back for what he did to me”.
This scripture takes us a little deeper than the worldly approach to things . It doesn’t deny that we can be victimized.
And it doesn’t say to run away.
In fact if you are turning the other cheek, you have to be facing your opposition to do so. You haven’t been defeated or run off. You remain before the attack, a testimony that they are wrong and you have done nothing wrong.
You don’t apologize or change your ways or submit in fear. You remain true.
What we are not supposed to do, to the extent circumstances allow, is return violence for violence (physical, verbal, spiritually), to be judge and exact vengeance, because that would be our attitude. We might say, “That guy deserved it”, and we might be right.
Justice is something we hope for in this life, but is promised and will be achieved in the end, for everyone. And this will be done by the One who can do it perfectly with no chance of undeserved consequence.
Are we not supposed to strive to be like Yeshua?
Is this not a time when the will of God is to heal?
Doesn’t judgment come later?
So when we are wronged, though the flesh cries out for satisfaction shouldn’t we, pause, exercise the fruit of self control, and give good words for bad (and mean it), do a kindness after suffering an offense? Shouldn’t we forgive even when no forgiveness is asked for, when retaliation is actually what is expected?
Shouldn’t our purpose be what Yeshua’s purpose was, not to condemn but be agents of healing?
Turning the other cheek is not falling down and rolling over. It is coming back, standing fast, confronting the opposition, by our refusal to be frightened or subdued and instead, returning good for bad and taking the hit anyway if that’s what ends up happening? In fact we should be prepared, because the hit is going happen.
The task is to do Yahweh’s Good, in spite of what and how often it confronts us in the process.
Father, grow in us a love and fearfulness for our fellow man, Your creation, that enables us to look past the dark in them, the hurt they inflict, to healing and cleaning up, peace and Your favor for them.
Strengthen us to this task, without You which we cannot do.
And may others exercise Your same nature towards us, for indeed we will need it as well.
We trust in You for grace and mercy as well as vindication.
Your Ways are so good, Abba. They are worthy of our commitment.
You are worthy Father.
May we have and live Your character towards one another, in the face of attacks.
May Your love be in us all.
In Yeshua’s name.