The Other Cheek

Jesus said, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matthew 5:39-41).

Really? If someone sucker punches us, we’re supposed to get back up and invite him to do it again? What about someone taking our stuff; aren’t we supposed to defend ourselves?

King David wrote, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:14-16).

I wonder if David, or any man, could delight in turning the other cheek. After all, we men are fighters, so this is a hard thing for Jesus to ask of us.

Maybe, hopefully, there’s more to this verse than these few words say; as David also said, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18).

As usual, our Lord sees a different and bigger picture than we do. We can easily get focused on the skirmishes that are right in front of us and lose sight of the future that God has for us. No one gets through life unscathed. We live in a world that is under a curse. On top of that, we have an enemy that is roaring around looking for someone to devour. So, we’re going to get knocked down, and it will be up to us to get past it. Going for revenge will just hold us in the fight that much longer. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge, I will repay, says the Lord.’”

The man who turns the other cheek isn’t a coward; he’s a man who sees the bigger picture. He doesn’t let the skirmishes slow him down but keeps advancing, boldly, through life. He doesn’t spend time worrying about ducking either. So, it’s not such a difficult thing for Jesus to ask of us. Really? Get back up and turn the other cheek? Yeah, really! Because there’s a bigger victory and a bigger prize.

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