Monday, August 09, 2010

Other Options

Other Options

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." Matthew 5 38-39

Jesus' words about turning the other cheek are among the most famous and universally known words ever spoken. They are also among the most ignored.

I remember reading the Sermon on the mount shortly after becoming a follower of Jesus. I thought to myself "This is the part of His teachings I will never be able to follow!" My deep need for self protection and self vindication was one of my most cherished defense mechanisms. I was good at verbally guarding my personal space.

My mistake in my way of thinking was that I felt that I would be turning my cheek out of my own resources instead of doing this in and through Jesus. I thought turning the other cheek was about will power.

I am learning to turn the cheek by following a simply spiritual rule - I listen to Jesus in order to turn the other cheek. Jesus' will is the power.

Here is how it works. Imagine that you are being verbally offended by someone. It hurts. Before you begin to become defensive, turn you mind back to Jesus' presence in you and ask Jesus "Should I defend myself? Should I hit back?" The answer will come clearly and quickly because every believer has the mind of Christ.

For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. I Corin. 2:16

We really do have the mind of Christ. Will we use His mind or ours when the slap comes?

If I use my mind, I seldom if ever can stop my natural urge to protect my space and demand respect. If I use His mind, I turn the other cheek and all kinds of other options for love immediately appear. A slap seems to produce only one option - hit back. A turn empowered by Jesus opens up love's options.

Get in the habit of asking Jesus in tough moments and all kinds of new options for love will appear in your life.

"The Golden Rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience." Oswald Chambers

1 comment:

Cammie Novara said...

"Jesus' words about turning the other cheek are among the most famous and universally known words ever spoken." I am completely in agreement with that. There's a really fascinating debate that I thought would be of interest on evolution vs. intelligent design going on at