But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.Luke 6:27-29 NIV
Jesus’ instruction here is counter to every inclination of our hearts. Our natural response is the opposite of what he tells his disciples to do here. When I feel like someone has mistreated me, I want to hurt them back. And, if I pray for them, it is for God’s vengeance to be poured out on them. When someone slaps me on the cheek, my initial response is to hit them back. Does Jesus really expect me to follow his teaching here?
Turn the Other Cheek
I believe he does. And he set an example for us by living like this himself. But I do not believe he tells us to do anything without enabling us to do it. The expression ‘born again’ is often lightly used today. But it does describe something very real. When I come to Christ, I am crucified with him, dying to my old self and my old way of living. And I am raised with him to a new life (Rom. 6:1-10). Old things are gone, and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).
There is still a struggle with our old human nature not wanting to surrender to the new nature that we have been given. And that struggle is genuine. But we have also been given the Holy Spirit to help us in the battle. With his help, we can overcome that old nature and way of responding.
So, rather than get upset when people insult you or mistreat you because of your faith, choose to bless those who curse you and do good for them. Rejoice and leap for joy because great is your reward in heaven (Luke 6:23). And you may just find yourself being the salt and light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16).
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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