Is it cowardly to turn the other cheek? After all, if someone hits me don’t l have the “right” to hit back? But, the Lord tells us that the evidence of our being controlled by Christ is our being in control when we are attacked. Jesus says, “But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matt 5:39)
Jesus is speaking of the very real threat the Jews faced of being struck by Roman soldiers. Under the boot of the Roman government, life was hard for those who were considered second-class. If Jesus said we should turn the other cheek when we are struck by an enemy, what should we do when we are offended by a brother?
How much more ought we to be willing to say to ourselves what Phil 1:29 says: “For to you it has been granted, for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” So, we begin to understand that it is the Lord's honor that is at stake and our response will either please Him or grieve Him.
Insisting on our rights, the right to be understood, the right to get even, the right to have our own way misplaces the spotlight. We are not the center of the universe, Jesus is. Our rights are not the issue, His will is. And if we properly understand our role it is to bring glory to Him regardless of the suffering we may endure in the process.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy spiritual retirement, we are here so to realize Jesus Christ that the body may be built up.” Chambers reminds us that our goal is not to live only for our own spiritual interests. Rather, we are to live for Christ only and endure whatever inconvenience or sacrifice is necessary to achieve that goal.
The key, then, to a healthy church (or marriage or job or being a good citizen) is to never carry a grudge. The real issue is not whether we are right or wrong but how we handle being wronged. Do we fight or do we say, “Lord, for Your sake I bear this and consider it an honor to be a part of the suffering you endured.” A slave is not greater than his master. (John 15:20)