Turn the Other Cheek
Of all the challenging things Jesus said none may be more challenging to our human nature than “turn the other cheek.” This ideal goes against every fiber of our being. When we are confronted with violence, either individually or collectively, our first instinct is to react with violence. When we are cut off in traffic our first instinct is to speed up and cut that person off in return. When someone causes us harm our first reaction is to harm them in response. When a nation threatens our nation our first response is to threaten retaliation and escalation of violence is often the result.
But Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek. It doesn’t come naturally or easily. This ethic of forgiveness and nonviolence is counter to our cultural and natural ethic. But it’s the call of Christians.
Far too often we have tried to censor Jesus in this teaching. We have developed theories of just wars, retributive justice, and nonviolent aggression. Our modern culture values the rights of victims to such a degree that victims can become the victors through revenge and retaliation. But we are still left with Jesus’ words “turn the other cheek.”
This Sunday at First Church OKC we will be continuing our series entitled “Jesus Uncensored” by examining exactly what Jesus meant when He commanded His disciples to “turn the other cheek.” We will see how others throughout the ages have tried to live up to this ethic, the implications of this teaching on our own lives, and specific ways we can live out this principle. I hope to see each of you in worship this Sunday morning at 10:45 am at First United Methodist Church in downtown OKC.