'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
"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 evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too". - Matthew 5:38-40 (AMP)
We all know it is not easy to turn our other cheek. It is a natural impulse for most, to respond in kind, and also a powerful temptation for most Christians. It is a very easy thing to do because it is encased in human nature. Someone has said it is as natural as falling off a log.
Most of the people in the world consider responding in kind to be a natural right. Everyone has the right - even the God-given right - to defend one's self. Not to do so is considered weakness.This principle is accepted, with some exceptions or qualifications, by most societies as a right written into laws of personal conduct. We all have it - this impulse to "get even". There is the classic humor often heard, "I'm not going to get mad, I'm just going to get even". It is the most natural, almost automatic thing to do. Deep down inside the most self-controlled personality is this urge to retaliate, defend, or carry out revenge of some type in some degree when wronged.
When was the last time you felt even a tinge of desire to retaliate or get even because of something someone said, or something someone did that hurt you in some way? Perhaps an insulting statement, or something you feel was implied in the tone or demeanor of someone. Getting even comes in many forms and disguises. There is the blatant and harsh word or action. Perhaps its just a statement to counter what someone said with the same tone and attitude that was received.
The principle of retaliation or responding in kind permeates all of human relationships. It is something so common in society, governments, and nations that it is accepted as normal. Wars have begun over a simple response in kind that spread like wildfire, jumping from one level of retaliation to another more serious level of resentment and retaliation until whole societies and countries are at war. It all could have been prevented by one simple restraint - one turning of the "other cheek".
As Christians, we have a direct command from our Savior Jesus Christ to live out this principle in our lives. Granted, it is very difficult to do at times - and many times we fail. Someone hurts us, in one way or another. Even if we resist immediate retaliation, we brood over it, turn it over and over in our minds about how untrue or unfair it was for the person, group, or organization to say, or do that to us. It may just be an unkind (we feel) word. Before long, it is keeping us awake at night. Some deal with the situation through sadness, depression, carrying a constant grudge, which can result in physical sickness, or indulgences.
What shall you do when you begin feeling that resentment inside to do something to even the score with someone?
The first thing all of us should do is perhaps the most difficult and unnatural, even illogical thing to do - PRAY- for the offender.
Every time it crosses your mind, PRAY! When you are kept awake at night, rather than roll the incident over, and over in your mind - stop and PRAY! What should you pray? Certainly do not pray against the offender. Pray for the offender, and your attitude. Examine everything, and lay it before Jesus. Open your heart to Him. Be completely honest about how you feel, asking Him to intervene according to His will.
Pray and pray and pray - for that person or persons, or organization, or group you feel has hurt you. If your prayers are honest, sincere, with a conscious realization that you are not perfect either, God can alter the attitude of the offender. So believe - believe that God will change what needs to be changed in you and the offender.
It doesn't matter whether the offense was intentional or unintentional. Do not expect the other to admit or apologize. If the person is a Christian, perhaps he or she will. Regardless, your responsibility is to "turn the other cheek".
If the perceived offense is serious, in your estimation, and the other is approachable, go to the individual and tell him or her that you were offended by their words or actions. Again, do not presume a favorable response. It all depends on many factors in the situation. Your decision of the right action on your part in this depends upon whether the other is a Christian or not. If the offender is not a Christian, face to face contact may backfire, making matters worse rather than better.
After you do these things, while confessing your own shortcomings, you will be able to accomplish that which Jesus wants you to do.
FORGIVE.....you have then turned the other cheek.
" But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses." - Matthew 6:15 (AMP)
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