TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK?
NIV Matthew 5:38-40, 44,45.38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 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.
Vengeance, as in 'Eye for an eye, tooth for tooth', is a strict limitation on retaliation, making a reasonable compensation to the injured party, usually monetary. Jesus pronounced blessings upon peace-makers who leave personal revenge in the hands of God. Jesus asks not to retaliate at all, for vengeance belongs to God. The Law is not to be taken into one's own hands. Turning the other cheek means just that.
It is not a literal saying, but performing of an act of Grace that belongs to personal behaviour and reliance in God. Vengeance is God's to carry out.
Paul, The Apostle to the Gentiles, repeated the non-retaliation laws of Jesus. Christians are admonished to not sue others in the law courts. The Christian is never urged to seek revenge for real or false injuries through the Court system or for personal property gain.
Criminal Judgement by the right authorities is not a violation of Jesus' words.
In the term 'Turn the Other Cheek', Jesus only dealt with personal retaliation, not criminal offences or acts of military aggression. He applied this principle of non- retaliation that insults a person's own dignity, law suits for personal gain and infringements upon personal liberty, as a surrender of all self-centred rights.
Christians are to resist the impulse to harm others or take vengeance into their own hands and continue to love that person. Jesus commands that enemies are to be loved as well as neighbours. To love one's neighbour is to lend him a helping hand, the same of enemies. Jesus also commands prayers of blessing for those who mistreat or injure a person's body or feelings, to allow God in the situation.
Paul also enforces Jesus' words by preaching that the best way to destroy an enemy who hurts and abuses, is to turn the offender into a friend. Overcoming evil with good was also taught in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament.
NIV Romans 12:17-21 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
To repay evil is the prerogative of God. God punishes evil in human beings. It is for God to judge and to give out retribution which is the deserved punishment and the correct justice. It is also for those he puts in authority, never for the individual.
It is very easy to build resentment, to lash out, resort to violence, until the anger of hurt has been satisfied. The proper response is to bless and not curse, as Jesus did, demonstrating God's love is stronger than hate. "Do good to those who hurt you".
There is no point in hostility but there is a point in overcoming and leaving the vengeance to God. As Christians, people are to go beyond the demands of the law, which is a true test of God's Kingdom principles.
Christians are to forgive any wrong even if it seems unjust. God rewards obedience and acts of kindness. Christian conduct should never provide unbelievers to bring the gospel into disrepute. It is more important to be merciful than to demand justice.
God The Father is merciful and forgiving to repentant sinners who ask forgiveness. Jesus has set an example, if He can forgive personal sins, then people surely must be humane and forgive also. For those who judge rather than forgive will not always welcome the forgiveness of God or admit their own needs to be forgiven.
Matthew 6:14.When Jesus says "if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins", He is not setting a condition, He is warning those who measure themselves against the failing of others.
God has shown great love in the crucifixion of Christ for the sake of mankind and such love enables people to have self-control and overcome evil with good. It is the realisation of personal vengeance and retaliation only belongs to God, for He is responsible to make all things just, that does take away any bitterness, hurt or anger against wrongdoers who have carried out any form of mistreatment.
|Vengeance is the avenging of wrong, injury, or the like, or retributive punishment, infliction of injury or suffering in requital for wrong done or other cause of bitter resentment with force or violence, extremely, to a surprising or unusual degree. Retaliation is to return like for like, especially evil for evil or requital (especially for an injury) Revenge is the desire to be vindictive, to have an opportunity of retaliation or satisfaction, to take vengeance for a wrong, etc. especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit.|
Forces of hostility amongst individuals is called evil, Christians are to resist the forces of evil that are in society and work for justice and peace.
Leaving vengeance and all retaliation in the Hands of God prevents a person from unintentional sin, in the case of misplaced accusation or presumption. Private retribution is forbidden. Divine retribution is just. Vengeance is Divine retribution. Jesus commands that attitudes towards the area of physical and emotional attacks, legal suits, governmental demands and personal requests should be that of non-retaliation.
Believers are not to seek personal revenge but leave it to God to punish offenders. Jesus did not make any alteration to the real meaning of the Law, but He explained and affirmed The Law's true meaning.
Christians are to instinctively honour good. Christians are to love others and forgive offenses, any violation of aggression, cheating, dishonesty, unfairness, for the good of others, particularly as it leads to more harmful problems. Christians should pray against conflict and people who oppose God, but also grieve over the unrepentant.
If Christians do carry out the actual practice this role of turning the other cheek in their lives as Jesus commanded, the precept will change all personal relations, heal personal wounds, solve all disputes. Lawlessness should not reign or be a part of life. The desire of returning injury and insult is unacceptable for individuals. It is wrong to strike back in retaliation or to plan revenge for later. Christians are to evade any hostility.
Forgiving and setting an example does more honour for the Principles and Laws of God than to go on the offensive. Forgiving a personal violation of one's rights shows more strength than lashing out in revenge. Forgiveness is stronger than revenge and the one who forgives, controls the situation and will be blessed by God.
Ungodly people are often vengeful and even Christians are not exemplary in this respect. God considers each case, for only God knows all sides to everything and all aspects are to be in claims of justice.
Christians are not to be malicious and should not seek justice for themselves. All through The Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament there are examples of great people of faith, who like Jesus, chose not to retaliate, e.g. Joseph, David, Stephen, Paul and many others.
Love in Christians can be perfect, and is expected because of God's Love.
'Turning the other cheek' as a non-reprisal attitude is not passive, inaction or silence but active to put all in the hands of God, which takes self-control to override the human will that would like to retaliate.
The Christian will receive in the final reproach of human conduct, a recompense (reward) that will be appropriate, through the works of love performed in the strength of Christ.
'Turning the other cheek' means don't take vengeance into your own hands, it is a Kingdom Law, and is much more honourable than all human teachings. This quotation has been misunderstood, in the terms of not seeking vengeance.
|SCRIPTURES Matthew 5:38-45, Romans 20:17-21
QUESTIONS 1] What does turning the other cheek mean? 2] What must you do to those who hurt you? 3] What can Christians be perfect in? 4] Why do Christians leave vengeance to God?
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