Copyright Arrowmakers 2019
I am currently teaching a series at my church entitled, "Loving God, Neighbors, and Enemies." I usually have heard messages on the first two but that last one is like trying to find the Lucky Charm guy riding a unicorn.
Jesus as a rabbinic teacher had a very powerful way of grabbing his listeners attention by using current cultural practices to drive home a kingdom truth. For instance, when Jesus told his listeners to walk two miles with someone, he drew on the reality of a Roman soldier who could compel a person to walk a mile with him and bear his load if needed. I am sure somebody in the audience was like, "Shut your mouth!"
Needless to say, one of Jesus most famous statements, "turn the other cheek," has been the cause of much discussion, especially in the context of pacifism.
Well I'm not here to talk about how we should respond to physical violence but I think in the context we can apply his turn the other cheek statement to what is going on in our society. Many would argue there is a "cultural war" against Christianity in America. Now a war would imply that some declaration has gone out in which one party is seeking to impose its will on another party. Others would argue that Christianity, namely Evangelicalism, lays on life support and waits to exhale her final breath.
Whatever the case, Christianity is not bound by a cultural war or particular expression. Christianity has something and someone to offer the culture in word and practice. One of those practices is turning the other cheek.
What does turning the other cheek look like in the 21st Century America?
Turn the other cheek if a couple asks you to bake them a wedding cake.
Turn the other cheek if you are told you can not pray at your graduation.
Turn the other cheek if you are tempted to share a meme which makes light of a transgender person.
Turn the other cheek if you are labeled "narrow minded" for your faith.
Turn the other cheek if your concern for the earth is met with "tree hugger" comments.
Turn the other cheek if your concern for life in the womb is met with hostility.
Turn the other cheek if your concern for life on death row is met with equal hostility.
Turning the other cheek is not a demonstration of weakness.
Turning the other cheek is participation in the cross of Christ who demonstrates true power for the sake of those who oppose him.