I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. . . . [L]ove your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
~ Matthew 5:39, 44 (NASB)
It is not so difficult for us to accept the teaching of “love one another.” We can picture a world where we are nice and forgiving to other people, and they treat us decently for the most part. It becomes quite more difficult when the other person is not nice and forgiving to us. It turns into a one-way street, where we suffer and they other guy goes apparently scot-free.
But what do we think when the other person is evil? Unrepentant? Intends to repeat whatever awful thing he did?
Here is a message, spoken without doubt by Jesus Christ Himself, that tells us to pray for such a person, to turn the other cheek, and to LOVE HIM! There is no doubt and no contradiction to what Christ taught in this quote. There is no place in the Bible where we find him counseling revenge in certain circumstances. When Peter pulls a sword out in the Garden of Gethsemane, to physically protect Jesus from the soldiers and Jews come to drag Him to an illegal execution, what does Jesus do? He tells him to put the sword back in the sheath. (John 18:11)
If there is a universally disobeyed commandment of the Bible, this is it. If you want to be hated, as Christ promised you would be if we followed him, bring this quote up when an African-American youth is shot by the police, or an American journalist is beheaded by some Islamic radical or other, or a vicious rapist is loose in your own town. People will treat you like the person who committed the heinous act. You will get emotional questions: “So you think we should just let him keep doing it?”
The answer is: “I don't know. I didn't say this; Jesus did. Ask Him.”
Lord, Let me never flinch from understanding your Word; and where we think I cannot follow it, let me be sad for my sin, and resolve at least to try, remembering that I am perfect only by Your Grace. Amen.In Jesus,
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Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation