“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 (ESV)
Turn Your Cheek
That’s tough. What’s tough? It is difficult to turn the other cheek to someone that is mistreating me. That is not my first inclination. That is not my natural response to someone who has hurt or harmed me. What has been your natural inclination and first response to those who have mistreated you? I have wanted to secure revenge. I have wanted to repay every evil that has ever been committed against me. I have wanted to settle accounts. I have wanted to get even. I have wanted to inflict as much pain as I can to those who have hurt or harmed. Has doing that made you feel better? Has doing that brought great benefit to your life? No, I have never felt better when I have sought revenge. No, seeking revenge has never brought any benefit to my life. How often have you actually sought revenge? Not very often, probably hardly ever. I can’t remember a time when I have actually sought revenge. But, you have contemplated seeking revenge. You have deeply considered ways you could seek revenge. Yes, that’s true. Isn’t that just as much a waste of time and effort as actually seeking revenge? Yes, it is.
You mentioned your natural inclinations. Yes, I did. Is that how you want to live your life? Do you want to live your life by your natural inclinations? No, I don’t want to live my life by my natural inclinations. I don’t want to do simply what comes naturally to me. Why is that? My natural inclinations are worldly. My natural inclinations are sinful. My natural inclinations stand in opposition to you. You are calling me to live a supernatural life that is empowered by your Holy Spirit. Yes, I am. Turning your cheek to someone who mistreats you is a supernatural inclination. Going inconveniently far out of your way to serve another person is a supernatural inclination. Giving to those who want to beg or borrow from you is a supernatural inclination. Will you do these things for me? Yes Lord, I will. I will rely on your Holy Spirit to help me to live the supernatural life that you are calling me to live. That will be very good.
Lord, turning the other cheek has not been my first inclination when I have been mistreated. I have wanted to repay evil committed against me with evil. Forgive me. Help me to turn the other cheek to those who mistreat me so that I can be a witness for you. Amen
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