Saturday, September 24, 2016

Reader question about "turning the other cheek"

READER QUESTION:

Something has been nagging at me about that “turn the other cheek” scripture.  Are we supposed to just lay down and play dead if someone attacks us?

OUR RESPONSE:

GREAT question, and honestly, while we aren’t to arbitrarily get into physical altercations, this does not mean that we are to “turn the other cheek” if someone were to physically attack us or our families!  We have every right to defend yourself!  Yes, there are scriptures such as this one:

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

But that is referring to plotting vengeance on someone whom you feel has wronged you.  However, if someone were to come into your house wielding a weapon of some kind, you are within your rights to fight back.  You see, Yeshua also says:

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 

There are times when violence is justified….When he returns, he will not come as a baby; he will return as the Lion of Judah who will rid the world of evil by every means possible!  

And in Exodus, we see this:   

Exodus 22:2-3 If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.  

Exodus 21:24-25 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.  

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 

In other words – use some common sense and do things according to YHWH’s Will.  Don’t avenge yourself just because you feel like it, but do defend yourself and your family from anyone posing imminent danger.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Believers can’t protect themselves or their family.  We are told not to seek revenge. We must be slow to anger and handle all situations with wisdom. 

Example:  As we see in Exodus 22:2-3 above, if someone breaks into your house at night, you can’t possibly know if that person is armed or what they came to do – so if you happen to shoot him you are not guilty.  But if that person breaks into your house in the daytime and sees you and starts to run away, and you out of anger run after him and shoot him, then YOU ARE guilty.

But again, this requires some common sense.  If that same person breaks into your house in the daytime and starts to attack you when you appear in his line of sight, by all means, defend yourself!  If you hurt or kill him, that’s his problem! 

If someone in a dark alley “mugs” you/points a gun or knife at you, assess the situation, but don’t arbitrarily start to fight him.  Give him your wallet, if that’s what he demands, because your life is more important than your wallet.  

A person posing a threat  is different from one who is not. If someone slaps you, a Believer, as hard as it might be, push aside your pride and walk away and not try to retaliate because your life was not in danger (unless, of course, the person keeps coming after you, and you have no recourse but to prevent any further harm to yourself ... you only have two cheeks to turn!)

So, it is perfectly fine for Believers to own firearms or learn to box, or hone some karate skills, etc., but remember we are NOT to retaliate unless we are in imminent danger.  We must always employ wisdom in any given situation.

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