Wednesday, May 28, 2008

turning the other cheek...

in Matthew 5:39, Jesus says "whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."

something great about Jesus' teaching is that he teaches acts of randomness in response to evil. have you ever noticed that if you do something totally random when someone does something mean to you, it tends to shock the other person and probably stop them from more violence? however, as much as i love randomness, i can't help but wonder why you wouldn't just walk away from someone who has just slapped you.

think of the actual scenario: someone has just slapped you. instead of responding to them in violence, you simply walk away. there can't be any harm in doing that. why does Jesus call us to stay and turn our cheeks? what is the significance of staying in the situation and doing nothing to defend yourself?

in an amazing book that i'm reading entitled The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne tackles this verse as well. i've been given some extra insight by reading his words, so i will share them with you:

"Jesus is not suggesting that we masochistically let people step all over us. Instead, Jesus is pointing us toward something that imaginatively disarms others. When hit on the cheek, turn and look the person in the eye. Do not cower and do not punch them back. Make sure they look into your eyes and see your sacred humanity, and it will become increasingly harder for them to hurt you."

he goes on to say even more amazingness:

"...When someone tries to sue you for the coat on your back and drags you before the court, go ahead and take all your clothes off and hand them over, exposing the sickness of their greed. When a soldier asks you to walk a mile with them and carry their pack (as was Roman law and custom), don't throw your fist in the air like the Zealots, just walk with them two miles instead of one, talk with them and woo them into our movement by love."

i guess it makes sense to turn the other cheek if i'm really going to live radically for Jesus. as easy as it is to simply walk away, that is not the way that God has called us to live.

Jesus, i pray that i would strive to turn the other cheek, as hard as it may be. I pray that you would give me the courage to fight back with my love and not with my anger.

"The only thing harder than hatred is love.
The only thing harder than war is peace.
The only thing that takes more work, tears, and sweat than division is reconciliation.
But what more beautiful things could we devote our lives to?"
--Shane Claiborne


liiiz! said...

mmmm. this really made me think. i like it :]

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