Turning the other Cheek

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We, The Dale’s Tuesday night Bible study, are currently reading through the Sermon on the Mount. This week we grappled with the passage where Jesus tells us not to repay evil for evil, but to turn the other cheek. In this same passage Jesus tells us to give more than is asked when someone sues us, do more than is required of us by an authority figure (go an extra mile with a Roman soldier, in Jesus’ context), and to give freely to those who ask to borrow from us.

We talked about how these things do not constitute a new set of laws that Jesus asks us to follow legalistically, but are examples of the kind of people that we will be when we are transformed by his love. We are to choose the Kingdom alternative to the usual “fight or flight” options; we are to show genuine concern for the person in front of us, despite the fact that they are not showing concern for us. By choosing love over anger, we turn the situation upside down.

We also talked about how this is much easier to talk about than to do! We asked the tough questions, like “what about genocide? What about abusive relationships? Should the other cheek always be turned?!” We talked about how the Bible makes it clear that oppression and injustice are not God’s will, and that we are called to act on behalf of those who are treated unfairly.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been noticing that when conflicts arise at The Dale, it often has to do with the perceived need to defend one’s honour, to make it known that one is not vulnerable, etc. I totally understand that impulse. And yet we are called to be a people who turn the other cheek, in an act of counter cultural love…

We also frequently encounter situations where a member of our community is experiencing abuse, coercion or marginalization, and we are called to be a people who name, challenge and oppose oppression and injustice…

Lord, may we learn to read and apply your word faithfully, in a world that is anything but straightforward. May we learn to love others in the self sacrificial and counter cultural way that you love us, and also take seriously your call to seek justice for the oppressed.

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One response »

  1. Awesome, Jo. That so well sums up so many of my feelings. There are many situations, and stages in life, where what we should do, and what we can do, and what exactly it’s all about, are just not as clear as we’d really like. Love…it’s not easy, eh?

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