I imagine a busload of tourists driving through a beautiful national forest. The forest is rich and beautiful.
"Turn the other cheek" is one of those commands Jesus gave that I find very challenging. I tried it in high school, and I was jumped and beaten greatly. I do not look back on that moment and think, "Yeah! I was obeying Christ and THAT makes it all worth it." Still not an easy thing to grasp.
Until recently reading an account of Ghandi. Not a declared Christian, but not exactly a declared ANYTHING while being a studier of EVERYTHING. He was a man of peace with outrageous respect for the teachings of Jesus. Upon facing a gang of people with a Christian pastor, the pastor turned to run for safety, and Ghandi stopped him inquiring, "Doesn't the new testament say turn the other cheek." The pastor, flustered, said it was a metaphor. One of history's greatest icons of peace says, "I don't think it is. I think Jesus meant to stand and take the blows, and take courage. Not to retreat, but not to attack either. From this, the other will eventually have respect for your courage. For you will not strike back but nor will you be turned away. I think Jesus grasped this, and I have seen it work."
There is a large part of me that wants to echo Ghandi's reflection. Some part of me that desires peace and righteousness and still manly strength so as not to back down. Could it really be that by turning the other cheek we are actually taking on more courage and eventual respect than we would by either retreating or attacking? Maybe Ghandi didn't read John Eldridge and his peaceful tactics weren't exactly 'Wild at Heart," but like most of Ghandi's actions and claims, we don't have to agree with any of it, but we definitely should take them as ideals to provoke our thought. What say you?
When you ask a child to do something, and they do it immediately there is a strong sense of joy and respect that you feel. In fact, you even feel loved by that child because they have OBEYED you. Now imagine children were basically robots without a choice. Suppose you only had to push a child's nose like a button and it would just operate without any further prompting. Initially, that may sound great. That sounds wonderful in fact...until we remember back to the joy and the love we felt when the child CHOSE to obey what we asked of them. If children were only robots, there would be no sense of love. There would be no real obedience; there would only be programmed response.
Sure kids make choices that frustrate us as well, but there is great love in their obedience.
God could have created us as programmed robots who just need to have the "ON" button pushed to go on doing what we are supposed to do. But God created us with a choice and a will, because our choice to obey God is loving. When we CHOOSE to obey God, I think he feels loved and respected and honored at a much more multiplied level than I do when my child obeys me.
Begin pretending now.
Pretend the world needs you though it does not revolve around you
Pretend rest for the restless resounds in relationship with you
Pretend you have the secret which is salve for the serrated heart
Pretend within you wells wisdom that is the antithesis of arrogance
Pretend you are capable of a compassion reserved for fairy tales and far-off lands
Pretend your hands can heal the heart of the untouchable
Pretend you are different from those who look just like you who hate those who don't look just like you
Pretend that a disgusting world which wants to be wonderful depends on your touch your voice your love
Pretend as though pretending enough can produce a reality others can only pretend.