March 2013, Vol. 32, No. 3

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Turning the Other Cheek

posted on June 7, 2019

[336 words]

The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon ever preached. We admire it, and quote it. But do we really follow it? I would say most of the time, yes. But there are some difficult things contained in it that challenge us today.

In his sermon, Jesus tells his audience, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matthew 5:38-42).

A sergeant in the army was once asked what caused him to want to become a Christian. He recalled a story of a young private whose custom was to kneel and pray at night before going to bed. Other soldiers harassed him for it. One rainy night, the young man came in late and knelt beside his bunk. The sergeant threw one of his boots at the man. Heavy with wet mud, the boot hit the private in the side of the head. Wiping the mud from his face, the young man turned in for the night. The next morning, the sergeant awoke to find his polished boots next to his bed. When he saw what the private had done, he said, “It broke my heart.”

Turning the other cheek is hard. Often, our first response is to retaliate or get revenge. But what if, by turning the other cheek, it causes someone to see the light of Christ? We might ask ourselves further, what if Jesus had retaliated instead of fulfilling his mission on the cross? We would be eternally poorer for it. Jesus sets an example for us to follow, not only in word but also in deed. We should do likewise.

Dewayne Bryant
Rush Springs church of Christ
Rush Springs, OK

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