Archives for posts with tag: turn the other cheek

I did not want to be late but it was rush hour. Although I was traveling a familiar route I sought assistance by opening Waze on my smartphone.

According to the Waze website it “is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app” that allows you to “join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money.” That sounded like exactly what I needed to make the best of drive time in this very heavy traffic.

The website promised “millions of drivers… working together towards a common goal: to outsmart traffic and get everyone the best route.” Many “friends” on the road would send alerts about “police, accidents, road hazards or traffic jams, all shared by other drivers in real-time.” That was what I needed for a timely arrival at my destination.

Only one problem. I knew the way to my destination. I had made this trip many times before and I knew all the shortcuts. So, when the directions of the traffic app seemed contrary to what I thought I knew, I ignored them and went the way that I knew would be “best.”

The first time I approached an intersection with a long line of vehicles stopped at the traffic light, I decided to bypass all of them waiting to go straight ahead. The right turn lane allowed me to bypass that long line of traffic. I was on my way smiling until I Waze told me that my estimated time of arrival was now 5 minutes later than before I made the turn. That irritated me.

The app adjusted my route accordingly. Then I did the same thing again. And again. Each time I failed to follow the directions I was given, time was added to my ETA.

I hope I am not revealing too much about myself but this was a learning experience for me. It helped me realize that instructions/directions are given for a reason. Whether it is an item with some assembly required or help with navigating a journey, my way might not be the better way. Directions/instructions are provided for my benefit. Ignoring them probably does not give me an advantage.

I know that in the grand scheme of things it will not make a lot of difference if I follow GPS directions when traveling or instructions when putting together a purchased item. Short cuts may not be a better alternative but it probably won’t matter most of the time. However, in some instances ignoring the instructions can be very detrimental.

This recent experience reminded me of the times I have read the Owner’s Manual of life- the Bible- but failed to follow the guidance it provided. While it does not always give specific and detailed directions for every experience, there are many directions that are pretty clear and many other principles that should not be ignored.

I don’t always want to “love (my) enemy and pray for those who mistreat (me).” Often I think I have a better way of dealing with folks that are not “on my side” but I know that taking another course of action or having another attitude is not good for me.

Turn the other cheek is what The Good Book tells me do to when someone does me wrong,. My natural instinct is to get even, strike back. Scripture instructs us to live peaceably with everyone but that it hard to do.

I am very well acquainted with The Bible. I know it pretty well. God help me to avoid “shortcuts.” Give me the desire and ability to follow the directions of the Scripture and apply the principles in my daily life and in my relationship with everyone.

 

Jamie Jenkins

When someone does you wrong do you get over it or do you get even? The tendency when you are offended or assaulted is to strike back. Retaliate.picture of retaliation - Revenge rubber stamp - JPG

Justification for retaliation is found in the concept of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This is a part of Mosaic Law used in the justice system of the ancient Israelites. The principle of jus talionis or lex talionis is that the punishment must fit the crime and there should be a just penalty for evil actions. Justice should be equitable; excessive harshness and excessive leniency should be avoided.

It has been suggested that if everyone practiced “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” the result would be a world of blind and toothless people.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness…. The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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Is there a better way? Perhaps the law of reciprocity offers an acceptable alternative to the law of retaliation. The law of reciprocity means that when someone does something nice for you, you do something nice for them in return. The act of returning a kind gesture or favor basically goes without saying. Unfortunately the all too often mindset is that when someone does something harsh or unkind, we in turn act in like manner.

Jesus in white robes, sitting on a hillside by the sea, surrounded by a large group of people who are listening to His teachings.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus counters the teaching of personal retaliation: “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. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38–42).

These verses may be the most difficult verses in the Bible.

On another occasion Jesus taught that the practice of retaliation would not provide any positive results. Instead, he said “all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

The Apostle Paul instructed the Christians of his day in this manner: “ Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even… if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:17-21, The Message)

“Evil is powerful, but good is more powerful. In fact, evil is so powerful that only good has the power to overcome evil. Darkness can be driven away only by light” (Jay E. AdamsHow to Overcome Evil). I think Jesus would agree- and so do I.

Jamie Jenkins