“To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” (Luke 6:29)
Why do we find it so easy to retaliate? What is it about human nature that makes us want to make sure the person who hurts us is hurt even more? Even if we don’t act on it, we still wish it and that’s every bit as bad in God’s eyes. Nobody denies the difficulty in turning the other cheek, but that is exactly what Jesus taught. You may be thinking, I know that somewhere in the Bible it says an eye for an eye. And you would be right, but the Old Testament intent for “an eye for an eye” was that of proportional justice, the idea that no matter the social class, the punishment would fit the crime. But sinful people, as they often do, take the intent of a passage, use it out of context, and misrepresent it. Such was the case in the circumstance of the Old Testament references to “an eye for an eye” approach. It is and never was meant to be a license for payback.
Jesus said, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” (Luke 6:29). No, Jesus wasn’t kidding! In fact, in the verses just prior, He said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28).
Today, as you go through your day and people strike you on the cheek, some lightly and some not so lightly, resist the temptation to retaliate. To love your enemies is a command. To turn the other cheek is a command. But most importantly is who it is that gave the command. He is the one who expressed love for His enemies and a willingness to be humiliated by turning the other cheek like no other. His name is Jesus.
Thank You, heavenly Father for Your Word. I confess my failure to take Your Word seriously on this issue. Forgive me and help me do what is unnatural in my own strength to do. Help me to please You and love those who strike out at me. After all, You loved me first. Amen.