Following this Jesus guy isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I mean there’s some stuff in there that he surely didn’t mean. RIGHT? Like this turn the other cheek business. Or did he mean it? I guess we better read the words in red.
“I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.” Mt. 5:39-40
So it seems he really did say that. But it has to mean something else? It must be symbolic of something cultural. Well, I’ve tried to make that mean something else. Really I have. But I think Jesus is pretty straight forward on this. We aren’t supposed to assert our rightness. We are supposed to assert other’s.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Mt. 6:14-15 “Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
My ability to forgive is directly proportional to the forgiveness that will be extended to me. YIKES!
Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Mt. 18: 21-22
The amount of forgiveness I am called to extend it basically limitless. Another YIKES!
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mk. 11:25
I can’t even pray until I let my grudges go. Triple YIKES!
It looks like Jesus was pretty serious about it, radical even. And it looks like if I want to be his follower I better be radical in my forgiveness too. But the truth is I think I am all too stingy in this department. I tend to “forgive” on my terms. I may let the offense pass. I may be cordial, even friendly. But once I have been hurt I tend to keep that person a good healthy distance from my heart. I wonder if that’s what Jesus means? Today I wonder where I’d be if Jesus did that to me?