“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Mt. 5:39 KJV
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8
“Turn the other cheek,” the Spirit of God said to me. “That’s the verse I’m giving to you. Use it.”
That’s all He had to say. He had said enough. All I needed to hear. He knew what I needed. And, given He’s compelling me to write this message, this may be exactly what you need to hear right now. Or perhaps some time in the future.
Why had He told me this? I have a loved one who has hurt me literally for DECADES each and every time in the exact same way. Relentlessly. Continually. Without fail. And the worst part of all of it for me is she has vehemently denied what she has done time and again. Never once has she apologized. She has simply turned everything around and pointed the finger at me.
No matter how much she knows the exceeding hurt she has caused me, she has refused to change the behavior. She professes to love me, and shows it in some ways undeniably, but in this extremely important way, she has done nothing more than hurt me – again and again. And again. Without fail.
The day the Spirit of God told me to turn the other cheek occurred after for the umpteenth time she reached out to me as though nothing were wrong, as though she wasn’t continuing to hurt me, as though I should drop everything and come running with a sweet smile on my face and my arms open wide.
While I have learned to pour out my heart and hurt to the Lord and to share with beloved friends who love me and encourage and pray for me, the truth is my heart gets filled back up with hurt again and again because my loved one’s behavior is so ongoing. So I need to keep going to Him, and seeking the help of others as needed.
What did I want to do that day? I WANTED TO TELL HER IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS HOW TERRIBLY SHE IS HURTING ME. AND THAT SHE SHOULD STOP. FRANKLY, IN PART, I WANTED TO SIMPLY SEVER TIES AND GET ON WITH MY LIFE WITHOUT THIS PERSON CONTINUING TO CAUSE ME SUCH HURT. MORE THAN ANYTHING, I WANTED TO LASH OUT NOT IN VENGEANCE AND NOT WITH ANGER BUT SIMPLY WITH AN EMPHATIC TELLING HER WHY CAN’T YOU ADMIT WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS WRONG AND STOP DOING IT?
But the Lord had other plans. He wanted me to show her the love and mercy of Christ. He wanted me to die to self, purge the pain, and live for Him – in this case by forgiving her and humbly following His lead in any and all communication with her.
In her pride, she had not yet humbled herself and confessed she was a sinner in need of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. She had not repented from her sins and given her life to Him. She was thus far headed for eternity in hell and the lake of fire in forever torment apart from God. And, no matter the hurt she had caused me, I wanted nothing more in the universe when it came to her than that she repent and believe in and forever follow Christ as Lord! Christ had given me His love for her! More than anything, I wanted her to be in God’s presence forever instead of burning in fiery hell and the lake of fire forever apart from Jesus!
God didn’t want me to open my mouth and take the matter into my own hands. He wanted me to submit to Him, resist the devil who was trying to engage me in a fiery spiritual battle, and draw near to Him.
He would be the one to comfort me. He would be the one to draw near to me as I drew near to Him. He would be the one who would strengthen me. He would be the one to love me to such a degree I would be okay no matter how this person did or did not treat me. Most of all, if I humbly yielded to Him as I needed to do, He could use me to show her – and others – Christ. How awesome would that be! All beginning with turning my other cheek instead of acting according to my flesh.
I knew what I needed to do. God had told me. Turn my other cheek. She would undoubtedly hurt me again. And again. My hope needed not to be in how she or anyone else for that matter chose to treat me. My hope needed to be, and needs to be, in Jesus. In forever fellowship with Him.
I figured once I turned the other cheek, I would end up going back and forth between my two cheeks. She might never stop hurting me in the way she kept hurting me. But this was neither here nor there. She needed to see Christ’s love, and my job was to do just that. By turning the other cheek. And trusting the Lord to give me all I needed to persevere. In His love. For His glory.
Turn the other cheek. Four life-changing words. This goes totally against the ways of this world, doesn’t it? And totally against how our flesh wants to act sometimes, doesn’t it? But Christ’s followers are not to live according to the world. We are to die to self and LIVE FOR CHRIST! According to God’s WORD. For God’s forever glory!
Is God telling you to turn the other cheek? Then you know what to do. In loving humble obedience to Him!