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29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  

Luke 6:29-30 (NIV)

This is a tall order, but Jesus doesn’t ask us to do something he didn’t model for us.  He was willing to take the abuse, even upon a cross, in order to show the full extent of his love.  That still doesn’t make it easy for us to do.  We are so into getting our “rights,” anything good that we feel we are due; and we think nothing should ever stand in our way to get them.   

Mahatma Gandhi gives us examples of how he led the people of India in their struggle for freedom from British rule. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Gandhi’s example to help the black American citizens gain the privileges that should have been theirs in the first place—to ride anywhere on a bus, to get a good education, to eat in any public restaurant, and more.   

Today it is difficult to even think of willingly taking abuse from another.  People are so quick to take anyone to court that crosses us.  I get upset about people taking my pens—my desk at work is close to the telephone and my room (school library) is where we have staff meetings, so I get cleaned out quite frequently by people who forget to bring a pen with them, yet they forget that the pen was borrowed when they leave.  I would probably do myself more harm than good if I made a big scene about this, and pens are relatively cheap.  But this is such a tame example of turning the other cheek. 

What about deliberate abuse that is vicious?  Verse 29 is referring to a form of physical assault.  That is really hard.  In the example given in the verse, I visualize the person receiving the assault as standing up—using his own strength and free will he stood there and offered the other cheek.  This is not a life threatening form of abuse.  I don’t feel that Jesus expects us to take life-threatening abuse and volunteer to come back for more unless there is some very high and worthy cause at stake that you are willing to die for, as in the case of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King.   

In the situation of an abused spouse, a choice must be made.  Will accepting the suffering bring the couple closer together, or will it bring the abuser closer to Christ?  I should think this situation should be bathed in much prayer.  The abused person needs to surround him/herself with prayer warriors.  And the abused person must be so filled with the joy of the Lord that, in spite of the abuse, he/she can still hold his/her head up with a sense of victory to effectively speak without words to his/her abusive spouse.  This is no small task. These two verses may ask at lot of us.  Are you ready to give Christ your all?

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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