The pain of a biting word that gnaws its way to your heart can leave a trail of sorrow, discouragement and strength. Yes, strength but we will address that later. Let’s discuss the journey of those intentional/unintentional words or actions that cause an unsuspecting cheek to turn.
But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39b
At some point in our life we have either been the one that had to turn our cheek or the one that forced someone to turn theirs. God created us with powerful emotions that if we are not careful can guide us. We shift the blame to our emotions, our circumstances or the other person. The barrage of harmful words and actions not only cause a cheek to turn but those deeds can fall on the tender soil of the heart. They can take root and produce poisonous tendrils that attach and choke out the good thoughts. Simply speaking, we don’t take responsibility for what proceeds out of our mouth.
Here is a handy list of excuses:
- They shouldn’t be so sensitive
- They know I didn’t mean it that way ( do they though?)
- If you die to self every day, you wouldn’t get so hurt (true, but isn’t a pass to hurt others)
- I was having a bad day
Not only does Jesus ask us to turn one cheek he instructs us to offer the other cheek. Still stinging from a flesh wound on our right cheek, we are now instructed to sacrifice our left. How do we survive a tongue lashing with fresh word-prints inscribed all over our cheeks? We must love and allow God to strengthen us.
Whose cheek have you forced to turn? Your children? Your spouse? A church member? Can you think of someone right now who has had to flex their spiritual muscles while exercising their facial muscles?
Our spiritual muscles grow ever stronger when we have to rely on Christ’s strength and not ours. God can give us the emotional strength to put a guard on our words/actions and not let them loose. We must see past the persons cheek and see their heart. We must love one another.
It is not easy to admit we have given someone the proverbial face slap. Harmless or harmful, we are all guilty of it. Be courageous and ask God to search your heart and bring to mind a person you have forced to turn the other cheek. Be courageous and forgive the person who has turned your cheek.