Cheek to Cheek

“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39 )

I like that Jesus say the person who strikes you on the cheek is an evil person. And I say that because I believe that striking a person in that manner is evil. I do not know if I have ever in my life done that; I would hope not. But if I had, I most certainly was an evil person at that moment.

Facing that evil (because when someone hits you on the cheek, they are most certainly in your line of vision) and being able to offer the other side of your face is either going to test their determination to continue being so evil, or will shame them into better behavior. Either way, it is a “classy” response. And Jesus was all about being “classy” like that.

The quote for this day that is attached to this verse in Davies’ year long calender of peace is from George F. Kennan who was the 1981 Albert Einstein Peace Prize winner. He says about the practice of piling up weapons of destruction that it is an endless cycle, like “lemmings heading for the sea.” He says further that this cycle has to be broken. And Jesus exhortation will do just that; it will halt a cycle of violence by refusing to participate. But nations have had a very hard time do that. If it is not one nation trying to outdo another nation, it is one nation trying to “force” – by force – another nation to stop the stockpiling.

It would take a brave man, woman, or nation to resist the impulse to retaliate. But unfortunately that type of bravery is very rare. It need not be though. If we would offer support at the times and places where one person refuses to be a part of any cycle of violence, perhaps there would be more people who stand firm and take both slaps.

May you, gentle reader (and I have never used that term lightly), with God’s strength and grace remain firm in the stance of peace. Selah!

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