Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg
Some people use parts of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where He said to “resist not evil”, to advocate that all Christians should be PACIFISTS, and that even in the face of an onslaught of anti-God, atheistic enemies, should do nothing. There is no doubt that we should obey Christ’s commandments, but it would be wise to first study His Words carefully so that we can know exactly HOW He wishes us to APPLY them to our INDIVIDUAL lives, as well as how to apply them as a NATION.
Matthew 5:38-45 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone smites you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak also. If someone compels (forces) you to go one mile, go with him two miles. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
In these verses, Christ was NOT advocating total pacifism, to just let evil men attack you, walk all over you and rob you of your every earthly possession! He was advocating these principles for a REASON. And the reason was so we might be a good Christian sample of love, mercy and forgiveness, and win our enemies to Christianity! So when someone takes your coat, you can say, “You didn’t need to TAKE my things. I’m more than willing to SHARE them with you. And to prove it, here’s my cloak also!” Or–“You want me to walk a mile with you? Fine, I’ll do it. But to prove I’m doing it out of Christian LOVE, and not just because you compel me to, I’ll willingly walk an EXTRA mile with you.”
But what about “turning the other cheek”? That when someone physically strikes you, instead of immediately hitting them back, you are to even let them slap your OTHER cheek ALSO. What does this mean? Does Jesus mean we are to CONTINUE to let them go ON and ON slapping us around and beating us while we do nothing? And are we just to stand back meekly forgiving and praying for violent and vicious enemies while they beat and molest and even kill our LOVED ONES? Obviously NOT! What then did Jesus mean by this statement?
He meant that we’re to have PATIENCE with our enemies, MERCY with our enemies, we’re to love our enemies and try to WIN them over, “Do GOOD to those who hate us, and love those who despitefully use us and persecute us, and pray for them.” Pray for them that they will CHANGE their horrible unloving behaviour! Yes, we ARE to “walk the extra mile” to show them God’s Love. But there comes a time when we’ve finished that mile, and it’s ENOUGH! Christ’s admonition to “turn the other cheek” to “love your enemy” etc. is NOT UNLIMITED. If your enemy doesn’t respond to you going out of your way to be peaceful and good and loving and forgiving, then ENOUGH is ENOUGH!
Yes, Jesus said to “turn the other cheek”, but you’ve only got TWO cheeks! And if your enemy CONTINUES being belligerent and isn’t content with your offering him the other cheek, then it’s time to sock him BACK to keep him from doing any MORE evil! After two slaps or two blows, you should realise that the guy really is an incorrigible enemy and is out to hurt you and that he’s NEVER planning on repenting! Past that point, you have no more cheeks to turn, so you can start DEFENDING yourself! And that is SCRIPTURAL!
The Lord only requires you to turn the OTHER cheek, not any more. And after they’ve slapped you on both of them, that’s IT! If they continue attacking you and continue to persecute you and don’t show any sign of repentance and change, you don’t need to CONTINUE endlessly showing them love and patience!
Even God Himself does not show unlimited mercy and patience with the unrepentant WICKED, with those who REFUSE to change their ways even though they have been shown love and mercy and are given opportunities to make ammends. He gives them time, He gives them love, He shows them patience and gives them warning, but when the time comes and they STILL won’t repent, then God doesn’t hesitate to start pouring out His JUDGEMENTS and righteous WRATH upon them! “But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His Words, and misused His Prophets, until the WRATH of the Lord arose against them, and there was NO remedy!” He also says, “He, who though often reproved, still hardens his heart, shall SUDDENLY be DESTROYED, and that without remedy!” (2Chronicles 36:16; Proverbs 29:1).
“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45), yes, that’s true. But what happens if they REFUSE to RESPOND to His loving treatment? Hebrews 6:7,8 says, “The earth which drinketh in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for the the keepers of the garden, receives BLESSING from God: But that which bears THORNS and BRIERS is REJECTED, and is ready to be CURSED, and shall be BURNED!”
What God’s Word is literally saying is, there comes a certain point when, if the enemies of God and His people don’t RESPOND to the sunshine of His Love and the rains of His mercy, that He CURSES them and they are DESTROYED! Jesus Himself said that there comes a time when “the axe is laid unto the root of the trees, and every tree which brings NOT forth good fruit is HEWN DOWN and cast into the FIRE!” (Matthew 3:10 and 7:19).
The parable of the wicked husbandman (farmer) also clearly illustrates this principle: “Jesus began to speak to the people this parable, `A certain man planted a vineyard, and rented it out to some husbandmen. And at the harvest he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him his share of the fruits of the vineyard. But they BEAT him and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant, and they cast stones at him and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent a third, and they killed him and threw his body out.”
“Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved SON. It may be that they will reverence HIM.’ But when the tenants saw Him, they cast Him out of the vineyard and KILLED Him. Then Jesus asked, Therefore when the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he DO to those tenants? He will MISERABLY DESTROY those wicked men and give the vineyard to others!'” In other words, he finally retaliated! (Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16).
Jesus commanded us to “love our enemies”, even our ANTI-GOD enemies. But once we have shown them Christian love by holding out the hand of reconciliation, by giving them the benefit of the doubt, and have offered them “the other cheek” with offers of peace, if they wilfully REJECT the love, mercy and patience that has been extended to them, and are still fully intent on a violent, bloody overthrow of our society, then we are under no further moral obligation to continue to show patience and love to them, and it’s time to start slapping them BACK!
Let us not forget, there are ALSO verses in God’s Word about slapping our ungodly ENEMIES on the cheek! Psalm 3:7 says, “O my God, Thou hast smitten all mine ENEMIES upon the cheekbone; Thou hast broken the teeth of the UNGODLY!” (See also Psalm 2)
Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International