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  • Matthew Kelly

Turn the Other Cheek


Would you steal from God? Do you think stealing from God would bring blessings to you? I think most people very quickly come to the conclusion that that is not a great idea. But hold that thought and we will return to it in a moment.


One way to understand a culture is to explore how it governs its appetite for revenge. For reasons I don’t understand, a desire for revenge is part of the human condition.


What is revenge? “The action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.”


When someone causes us to suffer it is natural for us to want them to suffer. Our desire for them to suffer is in some ways a desire for them to see us, hear us, and know the pain they have caused. When someone causes someone we love to suffer our desire for revenge can be even greater than if we had suffered ourselves. This is in some ways born from a need to act in a situation where we were helpless to prevent evil.


But the Scriptures are clear when it comes to revenge. “Vengeance is mine,” says the lord. We find this in both Deuteronomy 32: 35 and Romans 12: 19-21.


So, let me ask you again, would you steal from God? Do you think stealing from God would bless you and your family?


To seek revenge is to steal from God. “Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord. When we seek vengeance we are stealing from God. But if we are not going to seek to inflict revenge upon those who harm us and those we love, what are we to do?


Now, let’s take a look at today’s difficult teaching.


“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”


It is from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 5, verse 39.


Over and over throughout the Gospel Jesus counsels us about how to treat people who offend us, harm us, persecute us. Turning the other cheek is just the first step. The next is to pray for them. The step after that is to do good to them. And the step after that is to love them. Our appetite for revenge prevents us from praying for them, doing good to them, and loving them.


It is easy to talk about, but very, very difficult to do.


Where do we start? I find a healthy starting point anytime I find myself struggling to live one of Jesus’ difficult teachings is to pray for the desire to want to live that teaching. Desire precedes action. So, I ask God to give me the desire to live out that teaching in my life. And if we pray long and hard enough for the desire, He will answer that prayer every time. Then before too long, the desire turns into action.


Matthew Kelly


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