Our politicians certainly don’t seem to want to ‘turn the other cheek’. I have had to shut off the TV and the Radio lately. Too many negative ads filling the air waves.
Likely their political advisors are correct in assuming that people want leaders to lash back, to fight fire with fire. No one knows who started the verbal volleys but they are likely to continue through this political season.
Actually, few understand this saying of Jesus that we are to ‘turn the other cheek’. Some people like Ghandi and a few very pacifist Christian groups take it to mean complete non-violence. “Lambs to the slaughter”, “non-resistance into the grave”, hardly something that appeals to many. Martin Luther King Jr. knew the truth of the power of non-resistance, not as a religious absolute but as a powerful tool in winning over your enemies.
In Matthew 5:39 Jesus said, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Personally, I don’t believe that Jesus was talking specifically about non-violence although that is certainly within the context of these verses. One of my theology professors gave ample evidence of a Middle Eastern culture that identified a slap to the face as a disgrace, a blow more to the ego than to the head.
I believe that Jesus was teaching through the Beatitudes and in many of his other lessons that His followers have a great opportunity to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), to love our enemies and do good to those that hurt us (Luke 6:27).
When we behave like Jesus would behave, we don’t become soft or weak. Instead, we bless and encourage and love others regardless of how they mistreat us or speak evil of us. Unfortunately, our political leaders don’t have lots of good examples to draw upon but there should still be hope coming from our local churches.
Some of these lessons that Jesus taught are hard lessons....but necessary if we are to truly change the world.