Friday, September 20, 2013

Turn the Other Cheek: A few #BTSermon notes

Last Wednesday night Pat McGuire lead the discussion on Bold Faith. He referenced the "Turn the Other Cheek" passage in Luke 6. You will note that #BTSermon is not just a place to share direct quotes, but to explore thoughts provoked by the message.

God's Business

This is a great place to begin. Pat McGuire asked the question, "Did Jesus practice what he preached?" And boy, did he ever! God is in the business of loving us. Even while we were still enemies, God was actively showing his love towards us (Rom. 5:8). If there is ever an instance of practicing what is preached, this is that instance.

This thought leads to devotional worship. What other response do we have available to us but gratitude? Jesus is simply asking us to mimic him. I say simply because that is clearly what he is saying, not that is it a simple task. It is not simple; it is counter-intuitive. Nonetheless, it is what he asks of us.

No Cowards

An inevitable question that rises from a face-value reading of this passage has to do with self-defense. Are we to become cowards then; never fighting, turning the other cheek while sacrificing our bodies to the flames/sword/gunfire and take on the role of victim? Shall we offer up our families and other loved ones in the name of Luke 6? I know extreme pacifists who would claim this. To these challenges I say the following:
  1. With respect to loved ones. We are to turn our own other cheek, not to offer someone else. We are to provide the best opportunities for our loved ones. In some cases, this may mean self-preservation. In every case, this means we do everything with their benefit in mind. So no, we do not turn our children's/wives other cheeks. This is a decision that must be voluntary—it cannot be made for them.
  2. The first question is more difficult. It is true that martyrdom is an honorable passage into glory. However, martyrdom is not the same as recklessness. The Church has always encouraged escape from persecution and trouble when available. Aquila and Priscilla are examples of early Christians that fled persecution, yet they are mentioned favorably for their service wherever they are. Martyrdom, then, becomes a final option which a tormentor insists on.

Audience of Enemies

Along the lines of martyrdom is this thought, that the Christian who turns the other cheek to his enemy becomes a manifestation of God's love towards mankind. When we, as Christians, view our enemy as an audience rather than a nuisance, our eyes may open to the vast, new mission-field available to us. Perhaps this close contact is just the opportunity to preach the gospel that you have been praying for.

Maybe you should take advantage.

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Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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