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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Turn the Other Cheek?

praying“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” ~Matthew 5:38-42

A true story (the name has been changed):

A member of my family (we’ll call him Lewis) repeated something about a friend that he shouldn’t have. Lewis was in junior high at the time and when he entered the classroom the next day, he was confronted by his friend.

The angry friend said, “We’re going to fight.” Lewis apologized but that did not satisfy his friend. Lewis received a hit upside his head. But Lewis did not respond except to again apologize and to say he was wrong. The friend hit him on the other side of the face. Lewis repeated that he had been wrong and that he was not going to fight. Finally, the friend threw up his hands in frustration and walked away.

That is a true-life example of “turning the other cheek.”

Once on a trip, my family entered a restaurant while I looked for something in the car. A woman approached me and gave me a sob story. She asked for ten dollars. I gave her twenty.

“Are you crazy?” I was asked when I told of this incident. “Don’t you know she was scamming you?”

She may have been. However, (and this is where not judging comes into play) I was in a strange town and knew nothing of the woman. She could have been telling the truth. I did not have enough facts to make a proper judgment, and, so, I gave her more than she asked for.

While staying in a hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, my husband went to a fast-food place a couple of blocks away to buy our breakfast. As he returned to the hotel, he was approached by a homeless man. Carl gave him his breakfast.

I can give numerous examples of how “foolish” Carl and I have been. Yet, we are fulfilling the meaning of these verses. It is better to be taken advantage of then to let someone go hungry who may actually be hungry.

(However, if we receive facts that some people are using us, and, yes, it has happened, then we can judge correctly and refuse their requests. The Bible also says “if a man does not work, let him not eat.”)

Notice, that these words of Jesus are speaking of one-on-one relationships with those around us.

In the national realm, when we are defending our country, our God, and our Lord and Savior, we are not told to turn the other cheek. Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said:

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. Matthew 12:33-35

You brood of vipers?? Jesus was addressing the leaders of the Israelites and was not using Christianese—at least not the way it is spoken today.

Can we recognize when leaders are evil today?

Yes, when they do not bear “good fruit.”

Are our leaders bearing good fruit today? Is abortion good? Is the removal of God’s word from public places good? Is the erosion of our Bill of Rights good? Is the teaching of humanism in our schools good? Is morality being attacked and destroyed daily good?

When people are on a path to destroy our country, we do not “turn the other cheek.” To do so would be to violate other teachings of the Bible.

Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 10:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.” (verses 34-37)

We do not worry about offending others, even if it’s members of our own household. And, then, Paul has this to say:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.~Ephesians 6-10-20

It is time for all Christians to come to the aid of their country.

Turn the other cheek?

Not when it involves my Lord and Savior. Not when it involves stopping evil from winning. Not when we wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil.

Pick up the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.

Now is the time, not to turn the other cheek, but to face the danger head on. Proclaim the truth boldly before it is too late!

5 comments:

  1. You're exactly right, Sheila. We cannot allow the evil to continue unchallenged. We MUST speak out!

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    1. Thanks for your courage to speak up, Tommie!

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  2. Agreed, agreed, agreed. So grateful that other Christians are not "hiding out" from the world but are boldly willing to proclaim his truths! Even when we are not politically correct. :) Thank you, Sheila!

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  3. You are right, Sheila. What it comes down to is discernment. When to reach out a loving hand, when to stand up against what is wrong, and how to have the courage to either, when required. You hit the issues, perfectly.

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Thanks for sitting a spell and chatting!