Respond and React

By: Pastor Jarren Rogers

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” – Charles Swindoll

I think that so much of the time we feel like we are at the mercy of our emotions. So many times, how we respond and react is not done out of the infilling of the Holy Spirit but is instead ruled by our feelings and desires.

This is why our society accepts revenge as a valid answer to wrongdoing.  If you hurt me, I will hurt you back. Vengeance has become synonymous with justice.

But what does Christ say?

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. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).

For so long, “an eye for an eye” was common sense. This saying was inscribed in the Babylonian code of law that dates back to 1754 B.C. It had been the common practice for a long time. If you break my arm, I get to break yours. But Jesus turns this ancient law on its head. If you break my arm, I should present you with my other and give you the opportunity to break it as well.

I’m sure many Christians know this passage. I’m sure most Christians know that Christ calls us to turn the other cheek. But I’m not sure that it’s something we really try to do.

Think about that person who is really hard to get along with. Who is that person that really gets under your skin? Imagine that they walked up to you tomorrow and slapped you square across the jaw.

How would you react?

I think that most people would be quick to slap back. But Christians should react differently. We are called to remain humble as Jesus was humble. We should be quick to give and quick to forgive. With our eyes watering and our cheek burning, we should turn our heads and offer up the other side.

We would be hurt, no doubt. It always hurts when someone acts against us. Jesus isn’t denying that we won’t be hurt. He isn’t denying the fact that our face will get red. He isn’t saying we won’t be embarrassed. But He is saying that we, as Christ followers, should react differently than the people of the world.

We react differently because we know that we don’t have to hurt alone. Jesus is with us, even in our hurting. We react differently because we remember the pain that Christ endured on our behalf. We react differently because Christ went to the cross humbly and willingly, never seeking revenge.

Christ turned over His life so that we can turn our cheeks.

Parents: Explain to your children what it means to turn the other cheek. Make this a regular practice in your household.

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