Matthew 5:44 KJV “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
I had a conversation with my kids the other night about “turning the other cheek.” It wasn’t so much about them, as it was about me. I felt as though I needed to hear their responses, needed to know how they responded to challenging situations – asking for a friend. I wanted to know: just how do you respond when others openly mistreat you? What do you do/say? How easy is it to turn the other cheek? My personal goal has been to live out Matthew 5:44/Luke 6:27… So far, I believe things have been going okay. Perhaps it should be something I do automatically, perhaps it should be something I do without thought? But for me, for now, it is something I am doing on purpose.
“One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.” – Socrates
I do not know anyone who has lived and not experienced what is to be mistreated by another person – or mistreated another person. I remind my children, from time-to-time, the concept of “turning the other cheek.” Just the other night, in our conversation, I brought up Luke 6:29 KJV “And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.” My eldest was rather taken aback, “You mean I have to let them hit me again? I can’t hit them back?” This is what the Word says. What do you guys think about that? *Crickets* They were silent for a long time. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they ever responded.
It is a difficult concept for even adults to grasp at times, I think – the whole turn the other cheek thing. The way I see it, what better way to end a conflict? There is something to be said of peace. I challenged my kiddos to give it a chance. Next time your brother/sister is arguing with you, turn the other cheek, and see how long the argument lasts.
I recall, in the days of sharing a bedroom with my older sister, we’d argue over something silly, then the silent treatment would follow. I could stay angry as long as she engaged me, however she was really good at the silent treatment. It was the quickest way to get me to come around, apologize even! Not sure if I was usually the one in the wrong, but I sure hated the silent treatment, still do!
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” – Robert Brault
I don’t know about you, but this is a lesson that took me a while to learn. However, it was so worth learning! Whether we learn to just let go or we reach a point of true forgiveness life definitely becomes easier when we move past the point of needing the apology that didn’t come. For years, I was a wreck, wanting/needing an apology for all the hurt he had caused me… When I finally released him of that burden, it liberated me. I felt a weight lift from my shoulders and chest. How many more do I expect an apology from?
When I began examining my own mind, I realized that there were apologies for which I was waiting – apologies that would likely not come. I cannot allow this to rule me. One-by-one, I began releasing individuals of the debts I felt they owed me. If I was in the wrong, I did my part to make it right. Life has been much better since then…