Turn The Other Cheek

"Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace."
Lamentations 3:30

Jesus Teaches about Retaliation and Loving Enemies
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 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. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(Matthew 5: 38-48)

Life Application Bible Study Notes:

When we are wronged often our first reaction is to get even. Instead Jesus said we should do good to those who have wronged us! Out desire should not be to keep score, but to love and forgive. This is not natural --it is supernatural. Only God can give us the strength to love as he does. Instead of planning vengeance, pray for those who hurt you.

To many Jews of Jesus' day, these statements were offensive. Any Messiah who would turn the other cheek was not the military leader they wanted to lead a revolt against Rome. Since they were under Roman oppression, they wanted retaliation against their enemies, whom they hated. But Jesus suggested a new, radical response to injustice: instead of demanding rights, give them up freely! According to Jesus, it is more important to give justice and mercy than to receive it.

By telling us not to retaliate, Jesus keeps us from taking the law into our own hands. By loving and praying for our enemies, we can overcome evil with good.

The Pharisees interpreted Leviticus 19:18 as teaching that they should love ONLY those who loved in return, and Psalm 139:19-22 and 140:9-11 as meaning that they should hate their enemies. But Jesus says we are to love our enemies. If you love your enemies and treat them well, you will truly show that Jesus is Lord of your life. This is possible only for those who give themselves fully to God, because only he can deliver people from natural selfishness. We must trust the Holy Spirit to help us show love to those for whom we may not feel love.

How can we be perfect? (1) In character. In this life we can not be flawless, but we can aspire to be as much like Christ as possible. (2) In holiness. Like the Pharisees, we are to separate ourselves from the world's sinful values. But unlike the Pharisees, we are to be devoted to God's desires rather than our own, and carry his love and mercy into the world. (3) In maturity. We can't achieve Christlike character and holy living all at once, but we must grow toward maturity and wholeness. Just as we expect different behavior from a baby, a child, a teenager, and an adult, so God expects different behavior from us, depending on our stage of spiritual development. (4) In love. We can see to love others as completely as God loves us.

We can be perfect if our behavior is appropriate for our maturity level--perfect, yet with much room to grow. Our tendency to sin must never deter us from striving to be more like Christ. Christ calls all his disciples to excel, to rise above mediocrity, and to mature in every area, becoming like him. Those who strive to become perfect will one day be perfect, even as Christ is perfect (1 John 3:2,3).

No comments:

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin