How do you respond when you feel like you’re being tested? Whether that is spiritually, emotionally or physically, what do you do?
Most recently I have had a handful of experiences where I felt like, for the sake of peace, I just took a figurative right hook to the chin and turned the other cheek.
You better believe I nearly bit my tongue off in these moments just trying to stay quiet until the conflicts in question died down. Did I like it? No. Did it feel good? In the moment, no. But later when I knew that I had done no wrong, yes.
This hasn’t always been my reaction. There are times in my past where I might have fired back with the first hate-filled words that came to mind in order to let the other person in the conflict know that if they were going to hurt me, I could hurt them, too.
But that isn’t what Jesus would do.
Jesus didn’t respond to hate with hate. He responded with love. I think it’s fitting that I feel a little bit under attack on the heels of Easter. Not because I think my problems are anything compared to what Jesus endured on the cross, but because His example of how to respond to adversity is fresh on people’s minds at this time.
Leading up to and during His crucifixion, He endured.
He endured incredible amounts of pain and suffering because of you and me. Because He knew that you and I would fail and fall victim to sin, He stayed on that cross. Because He knew that this was a part of the plan His Father had to save the world, he endured.
Matthew 5:38-40 says, “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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.’
Thirteen chapters later, He tells us how many times we have to forgive those who wrong us:
Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
It’s easy to want to feel vindicated, to say something you know will hurt someone, or “clap back” as kids are saying these days. But, I challenge you, like our precious Jesus who died for our sins on the cross, endure.
Look Satan in the face when he provides an opportunity for you to fail or act hateful or worldly and say it with me, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”