Jesus, your words trouble me. Just started a new Bible reading plan and ran into my first major speed bump on day 7. I have read these words so many times and yet when I read them today I had to close my Bible and have a conversation with God.
It’s funny how I breezed through all the other verses so easily. It was all black and white, all so right, that is until I got to this verse:
“But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.”
It is one of those many troubling things that Jesus said, and I could not seem to sail over it as easily as I did all the others.
It’s because when I read it, I kept thinking of an incident that happened just recently in my hometown. A 91-year-old lady was beaten within an inch of her life, one very well-known in the community and known to my family, when two thugs broke in to her home. She had just come in from watching a bicycle race that was going by her house when they followed her in.
I think they got a TV but that’s about it.
Her husband was home at the time but out in the back doing work in their orchard when it happened. She managed to live through the terrible ordeal after spending weeks in intensive care.
I am having a hard time reconciling the events I hear about each and every day with this verse. I hear about someone breaking into a store and I want to cheer when I hear the shopkeeper had a gun and they used it. I want to defend what is mine, what I have worked for. And I want others to have the right to do the same.
I am struggling with this hard saying today, because I look at all the evil in our society and I think that they are taking over and we have to take it back.
I think of places in my childhood that used to be safe and they aren’t anymore and that’s sad; so many places taken over by thugs and gangs and drugs.
And what if, God forbid, something should happen to my own folks like what happened to Mrs. Kezsler? Could I truly forgive?
No doubt the Israelites struggled with what Jesus said too. After all, they were an oppressed people, ruled over by an evil empire for hundreds of years up until then. They thought He would free them, and He did, but not how they were expecting, but with love, forgiveness, the cross.
And today I guess He came how I wasn’t expecting either.
I realize again, that all battles start and end in the heart, and I only have to look as far as the cross for my answer.
I didn’t plan for this message today, but it seems fitting, the day we celebrate Martin Luther King’s life and legacy. His message still rings clear after all these years:
” Hatred paralyzes life; Love releases it. Hatred confuses life; Love harmonizes it; Hatred darkens life; Love illuminates it “
Join me at the foot of the cross today, in prayer for our nation. I am thankful that no matter who is in the White House, my God is still on the Throne.