Turn the Other Cheek

 

Theme: Don't get even—get over it! The seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Yr. A
Object: None is needed
Scripture: "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also." Matthew 5:38-39 (NIV)

Imagine this scene on the playground at school. Children are playing at recess when one child pushes another. That child pushes back. Then the first child retaliates by hitting the another child who then hits him back. Soon, the two are involved in a knock-down, drag-out fight.

The teacher soon arrives and asks, "What's going on here?"

"He pushed me!" one child responds.

"Well, he pushed me first!" replies the other.

"He hit me!"

"He hit me back!"

I'm sure you have seen something like this happen on the playground at school. What do you think? If someone pushes you, isn't it OK to push them back? If someone hits you, isn't it fair for you to hit back?

I think it would be a good idea to see what Jesus has to say about this in today's Bible lesson. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his followers, "You have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on th e right cheek, offer the other cheek also." That doesn't sound fair, does it?

But Jesus went even further! "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say, love your enemies! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? If you are only kind to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?

So, that is what Jesus said and that is what he expects of us. We can only do that if we ask God to help us.

Father, sometimes we want to strike back when someone hurts us. Give us the strength and courage to do as Jesus taught us and "Turn the other cheek." In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.