Turn The Other Cheek" Matt 5:39

How often have unkind words or kind words with a twist served to irk us?
How often has an instant anger burned within us?
How often has our response been verbally clipped or even an expression on the face that describes the thoughts of the mind and heart in that instance?

The moment we respond in kind, we become as 1 Cor 6:7 (the first part of it) ...Actually, then it is already a defeat for you...

When we are reviled and insulted, how often are we mature enough to do as it is said in 1 Cor 4:12-13 ...and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now....

This is a rather difficult thing to do, especially when our blood pressure has suddenly been pushed up!

The words of 1 Peter 3:9 ...not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing...

show us how to do what is most difficult, that being to give a genuine blessing when we have just been insulted, whether by another Christian or a person of the world. For a few minutes, look at a few examples of how a few hard pressed people of old responded whilst under pressure.
They were as human as you and I.

David - endured many slights and insults which culminated in a seeking to have him physically killed by Saul.

1 Samuel 24:8-11 ...Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying,
My lord the king! And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself. David said to Saul, Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, Behold, David seeks to harm you? Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the LORD had given you today into your had in the cave, and some said to kill you, by my eye had pity on you; and I said, I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORDS anointed. Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it....

Many men had used many words to tarnish David and his character before Saul. Did David decide, right, enough is enough and decide it was time for a face off against Saul?

No, his response is as 1 Sam 24:12 ...May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you....

Even when Saul, his persecutor was dead, David still didn't use the opportunity to speak against Saul.

2 Sam 1:13-16 ...David said to the young man who told him, Where are you from? And he answered, I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite. Then David said to him, How is it you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy the LORDS anointed? And David called one of the young men and said, God cut him down. So he struck him and he died. David said to him, Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, I have killed the LORDS anointed...

How would we have responded? How do we react today, even, when one who has persecuted us verbally (and sometimes physically), has been removed from our presence? Is it an opportunity to now talk aloud about what he or she was like or do we just let it go?

Joseph - too was under much pressure within the human condition to respond or not respond, especially when Potiphar's wife spoke untruths against him.

Genesis 39:19-20 ...Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, This is what your slave did to me, his anger burned. So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there in jail...

What would we have said had we been in the similar circumstances? Somehow I don't think our language or tone would have been quite as humble!

The Twelve disciples as they were sent out were told they would be insulted constantly.

Matt 10:22 ...You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved...

These were human beings to be insulted by other human beings. Just as we are human beings with the same way of either responding or not responding to insult and slander. Just because they had the privilege of knowing Jesus in the flesh, did not shield them from their own human responses.

Jesus - Himself was constantly insulted. I (personally) believe that not one day passed whilst He was as a man, that He did not receive the pangs of pain of insults and slights. He didn't develop a thick hide but He showed us how to develop patience and humility. When He was tempted by the devil as Matt 4:1 ...Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil..., on each occasion, He didn't say to the devil, ah, just go away and leave me be, instead He countered each temptation with the words of God.

He used the scripture, the written and known words of the people of the day. He didn't just pluck as yet unknown words to answer, but He used the scripture that was already available to man.

Matt 4:4 a quote from Deut 8:3;
Matt 4:7 a quote from Deut 6:16 and Matt 4:10 a quote from Deut 10:20.

Prov 16:27-28 ...A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are like scorching fire. A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends...

 This is a completely human condition and is completely against the lifestyle of one who has turned toward God for our living. This is how many of us were before we choose to live by God's standard.

Prov 17:20 ...He who has a crooked mind finds no good, and he who is perverted in his language falls into evil...

These are the people, whether new or long established Christians, who haven't as yet discovered or learned that they have another cheek and that the head and heart can be swivelled!

James 3:8-9 ...But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. with it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;...

Though the tongue cannot be tamed, it can be controlled and to this end, we must learn to always turn the other cheek when we feel insulted and hurt. On the spot retaliation is not Christ-like nor is it how an ambassador for Christ will represent Christ. By all means defend Christ's name but when it is a personal insult or slight - control both the tongue and the facial expression and engage that other cheek!

Have you ever thought how good it is that God have us humans two of many of our uses - two eyes, two ears, two cheeks, two shoulders, two arms, two hands, two legs, two feet and two of some internal organs also. When one is hurt the other can be employed until both are ready again to share the burdens. Two cheeks working for God will display a shining countenance. One cheek when it has been verbally slapped can be turned away until it heals and the other will work for God. However, as we know the cheek represents the heart and mind that has been hurt and the turning away being to endure with patience.

James 1:4 ...And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing....

Odd as it may sound, but when we employ James 1:2 ...Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials... whilst doing

Matt 5:39 ...But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also...,

we are being as Eph 6:10 ...Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might... asks us to be. Note I say asks. God does not demand of us, He asks. Ever notice if someone demands of us, we sometimes stiffen our necks but if we are asked we will be more inclined to comply. God knew us before we knew ourselves,

so He asks. even then we sometimes stiffen our necks as Israel did in Jere 19:15 ...Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it, because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed My words....

So then, what will we do the next time someone speaks to us with harsh and unkind words or in a slanderous tone? Will we react on the spot? Or store it up inside and react later? Or will we simply turn the other cheek? We have a choice each time this happens - one or two - either engage the wounded cheek or turn it away.

I'll leave you to ponder the words of 2 Cor 12:9-10 ...And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with pesecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong...

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