Having the Grace to Turn the Other Cheek

Living in an imperfect world means that we will live with imperfect people. Though we want badly to believe that life should be fair and that people should treat us with the respect we think we deserve, we constantly find ourselves disappointed by unfulfilled expectations. When our kindness goes without reciprocation, or our friendliness is snubbed, we are left with a feeling of righteous indignation. If offenses cut us deeper, or the wound is reopened constantly by unremitting abuses of our patience, our peace of mind can gradually erode. We begin to feel each biting remark a bit more, and every undeserved slight starts to stick with us longer though they used to roll off easily. Each incident stews and bubbles dangerously in our minds as thoughts of revenge or resentment threaten to emerge from this potentially toxic brew. When we come face to face with cruel words, condescending tones, or heartless insults, we can be tempted tremendously to bite back. Before accusing God of failing to protect us from things we do not deserve, we must resist the urge to continue stoking the fire of resentment and throw water on it instead. Humbling ourselves and remembering that Christ knows exactly how we feel when we are humiliated or insulted, and He, unlike us, is wholly blameless and undeserving. Once we do, we can begin to soften our hearts and release our frustrations and pain to Him, asking Him to give us strength and heal us. As we stop wrestling our own sense of self-righteousness, and release our frustration to Him, we can gradually begin to relax. Submitting to His power and sovereignty, we can feel the stinging pain begin to fade as we allow Him to comfort us and fight for us. Only He can give us the grace to turn the other cheek when we are mistreated. When we are insulted, He is offering us yet another opportunity to receive a blessing, and make the right decision by blessing and not cursing our offender. Alone we could never show such grace, but with humility of mind and through His strength, we can begin to have joy and peace.

“But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  – Matthew 5:39

 “But I say to you who hear, 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

“Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying ‘Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?’”  – Matthew 26:67-68

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:8-9

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