S (Scripture): Matthew 5:38
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you.
O (Observation): What is gained in retaliation? What is lost?
Jesus is in the midst of some teachings that are full of hyperbole. Talk of cutting your hand off or plucking your eye out if either of them causes you to sin. Really?
If someone hits you, turn the other cheek. Really?
Jesus turns the tables on an older Jewish custom. He turns “eye for an eye” into “turn the other cheek.” Jesus is lifting up a new ethic for treating your neighbor with love, despite their actions. Regardless of what your neighbor does, do not resist.
A (Application): Jesus must be on to something important, here. The Beatitudes have been shared and the new ethic is brought forth.
Are we to be complete pacifists? What if I’m the leader of the nation and we are being attacked? Do we turn the other cheek? If a terrorist attack occurs, do we say, “God will take care of it!”
I struggle deeply with the interpretation that says to truly do nothing.
Perhaps these words of Jesus are Jesus’ way of telling us that God has a direction for us, despite our failing attempts to bring justice in this world. That our ways bring less then helpful results. So, let God do the vengeance thing. Let God protect (in this life and the next).
Should we resist someone invading the country we live in? Should we resist someone breaking into our house?
This obviously has an impact in terms of whether or not one should own a gun. I’m not declaring that you should or should not. Rather, I would prefer to know how owning a gun or not owning a gun is part of your identity.
The question of identity is not me being passive aggressive. This debate seems to be one more about who we are, how we are raised, and what we believe.
I was turned to these thoughts on identity through a great article titled, “We Are Our Guns — The First Step To Meaningful Change In The Conversation“.
Please read that article. This approach applies to way more than just guns or violence, but speaks to all of our views on many topics. This approach paves the way for much meaningful conversation.
(To hear an interesting story about someone’s personal encounter of being robbed at gun point, check out this podcast episode: Hello Today with Tripp and Tyler – Episode 13. Tripp tells a serious story, but these guys are hilarious in their other ventures.)
P (Prayer): Lord, protect us and keep us from all harm. Amen.