Have you ever had the opportunity to “turn the other cheek?” I am sure you have. How did that work out for you?
I have had many opportunities to turn the other cheek and must admit it is not something that comes naturally. In fact, the opposite is more often the result. As I considered the Lord’s request for me to turn the other cheek this is what came to me.
Whoever strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other also. Whoever takes away your coat do not withhold from him your shirt either. (Luke 6:29 AMP)
In a very real and literal sense Jesus says that when someone slaps you on one side of your face turn your face and let them slap the other side as well. Okay, why would we want to do that and why would the Lord want us to do it? It certainly makes no reasonable sense whatsoever. An eye for an eye or a slap for a slap is far easier and agreeable than turning away and letting them do it again.
Turning the other cheek is about dealing with conflict. Some people love conflict and others hate it but either way conflict is something that we all need to deal with. There are also many opinions and teachings out there on how to deal with conflict, many of which do not line up with God’s way at all. Does it also mean that people can keep striking you without any consequence? No, I don’t believe that is true either, but at the beginning of a conflict or argument it is always wise to turn away from it and not to engage it at all.
The Lord showed me it is like martial arts. Martial art is simply a form of physical and mental disciplines which when mastered make that person a lethal but controlled weapon. Martial arts teach someone how to master an opponent to where they can hurt or kill them, but the mental discipline is to warn their opponent (the one who slapped them) and to step away. Only when the other person refuses to listen is there engagement and even then, it is not to do harm. However, as soon as their own lives or the life of another is endangered a martial arts master can go for the kill.
Turning the other cheek is a spiritual discipline that when mastered makes you a lethal weapon against the enemy. But just like martial arts it is a spiritual skill that must be learned as it does not come naturally.
And remember, your enemy is never the physical person but the voice of the accuser coming at you through that person.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph 6:12 NIV)
Turning the other cheek is not just about avoiding conflict but also about how to deal with it. When you find yourself in a confrontational situation your first response needs to be that of a peacemaker. Being a peacemaker involves giving up your rights and your way for the sake of the other person so that there can be peace between you, and you can move forward. If your “slapper” still insists on being confrontational then be the peacemaker a second or third time. Don’t push your agenda, let them be. Stay calm and be gentle. Do not let anger be your response. If you do, you’ll end up in a brawl and nobody wins. Both parties end up hurt and both parties are losers.
And both parties’ prayers get hindered!
To be continued …
Be blessed and at peace.
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