38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. (Matthew 5:38-41, NLT)
“This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian.” That’s how Oswald Chambers starts his devotion today in My Utmost for His Highest.
That’s very familiar Scripture above. It’s Scripture that we’re taught as children before we even know about Jesus. “Turning the other cheek” and “Going the extra mile” are American colloquialisms — they’ve made their way into the very fabric of our lives. Or have they?
What Jesus says above in his Sermon on the Mount goes against every natural impulse we have. We want to fight back. We want to fight for our rights. We want to do only what’s required of us. Although we’re taught — even as children — to turn the other cheek, our nature says to strike back… to get revenge… to stand up and fight.
But here’s what Oswald says (somewhat harshly):
“When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus — it is either in you or it is not.”
Ouch. Oswald goes on to say that if I can take the blow from my adversary, then “I can prevent Jesus from being hurt… A disciple realizes that it’s Jesus’ honor at stake in his life, not his own.”
What would happen if we truly took that to heart: that Jesus’ honor is at stake in how we live our lives? As a hurting world watches, are we living our lives… making our daily choices… with Jesus’ honor in mind? Hmmm.