Tuesday, November 7, 2017

“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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well”. Matthew 5:38-40

Thought Adjuster: “At first glance, the above statement by Jesus seems to be a paradox.  Indeed, to present the other cheek to your mean-spirited aggressor would appear to be a borderline masochistic behavior in a situation where you would be entitled to defend yourself.

Jesus was making a very subtle and yet revolutionary point.  At the time He lived His earthly life, righteous retribution was promoted among His peers.  It seemed fair that if someone deprived you of something dear to you, it would give you the right to retaliate in kind so that your aggressor gets a bitter taste of his own toxic behavior.

Yet, rather than condoning such a behavior, Jesus seemed to preconize that the offended party offers non-resistance and goes as far as to drop all his or her defenses at the risk of being even more victimized. 

This is not the point He was making.  He well understood that retaliation feeds the unending cycle of dysfunction, generating more anger, resentment, bitterness, and hostility, which leads to an escalation of hurtful incidents.  Sadly, this is the reason why history keeps repeating itself through incessant warfare and why generational grudges are kept alive, even though their petty cause may have been long forgotten.

To turn the other cheek defines a new response pattern that is guaranteed to come as a surprise to your opponent and, as you well know, the element of surprise is powerful.  By turning the other cheek, you actually destabilize your opponent who expected you to go on the counter-offensive.  You are like a spiritual martial artist who uses his opponent’s momentum to teach him a meaningful and humbling lesson. 

By turning the other cheek, you are altering the relational pattern.  You are breaking the cycle of revengeful actions.  You are modeling a brand-new way of being—a way that preserves your inner peace.  You are forcing your opponent to take responsibility for his own actions, rather than mirroring them by following suit. 

Dear ones, as you encounter relational challenges, give them some thoughts and ask yourself how to defuse these situations rather than fueling them.  By disabling these ticking bombs, you make the world a safer place and put an end to the ripple effects of hate in action that lead to destruction.  Love in action is what you need to promote, as it has a bright and eternal future.”