“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also…. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”
(Matt 5 38-41)
This must be one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. Most people take it that we Christians should just fold up like an umbrella when faced with people coming against us. After all, didn’t the Bible says that “the meek shall inherit the world”?
I am glad my pastor had pointed out that Jesus also did say that we should be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” While Christians generally have no problems with the latter, it is the former we tend to overlook. Somehow the association with “serpent” just doesn’t quite reasonate with most of us.
But I digressed.
Anyway… in the Jewish culture of that day, to smite a person’s right is to issue a challenge. Most people, when faced with such provocation, there are only the 2 usual options of fight or flight. But Jesus, in one of His most counter-intuitive lesson, was telling us to choose neither,
Turning the other cheek, contrary to what most people think, is NOT a sign of weakness. It is a sign that we retain that power in ourselves to NOT react to the taunts of the provocateur. We refuse to be a puppet that is easily manipulated by a pull of the strings.
So forget about “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, stand still, turn the other cheek and the Lord will be your vindicator. Amen.