Rising Above By Turning The Other Cheek

Even those who do not read the Bible are familiar with the expression “turning the other cheek”. It has almost become a clichéd sentiment, but is that merely lip service? I mean, how many times have we seen anybody react like that in today’s world? When attacked, we defend ourselves, or we attack right back. Whether it be for our honour or moral code or plain simple ego, the concept of  “rising above” has long been replaced by modern day  “justice”. It is evident in the petty lawsuits in our courtrooms, the riots, police brutality and government corruption. Everyone has formed a somewhat warped idea of what they are entitled to and most will stop at nothing to obtain it.

[callout title=Think about it like this:]when you repay accidental evil with intentional evil, who becomes the smaller man?[/callout]

I will admit that I struggle with “rising above” in my Christian walk. Being the sensitive, slightly emotionally-unstable woman that I am, it is not easy to fight the killer instinct of revenge. You become so aware of your own pain that it is virtually impossible not to go out of your way to give the other person a taste of their own medicine. It is only after time has passed and you have healed a little bit or after coming to terms with the guilty feeling of a vengeful crime committed, that you start to see how wrong you were to act on an emotion you felt in a moment when you were “seeing red”. I can be the most hot-headed person at times, especially when I do not have the full story. The most profound lesson I have learnt after prescribing, administering and observing the effects of my own dose of payback, is that most of the time there was not even the intent to harm.

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
Matthew 5:39

This brings me to my next point – the reason for the scripture and the timeless lesson behind it:


Reflecting on the countless times that we have hurt someone or even just ruined someone’s mood due to impatience and lack of tact, it makes it completely unjustifiable this idea of retaliation. It is the same as saying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It is being sensible enough to accept that the person next to you is as flawed as you are and being wise enough to realise that you would want to be shown compassion and understanding in your own moment of weakness. Think about it like this: when you repay accidental evil with intentional evil, who becomes the smaller man?
Take comfort in knowing that God has the full story. He knows, not only the action that was carried out, but the heart and mind behind it. He knows what you felt. He knows how you cried. Take comfort in knowing that He is always on your side. Wait on Him in faith and trust. Take a deep breath and continue forward on your journey. Rise above because God has already taken care of your problem.

Writer: Tshwanelo Tladi

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