“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.” Matthew 5:39 (NIV)
I have a confession to make: I had a dog in my childhood. He died. I want to tell you how he died. He was killed. In a fight. For a territory. It’s a long story how this all happened but it happens to animals all the time. Some animals have territories that they will defend with their lives.
This brings me to humans. But I am not as interested in how we defend our territories as I am in how we love to aggressively take what does not belong to us. You and I know someone who either tried to take something from us or from someone close to us; something they never built; something they never spent energy creating. We call them aggressors.
Jesus, in his reference to turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), was thinking about aggressors. Not so much about them taking what belongs to us, but about what they do when they fail to take what’s ours. They resort to psychological torture, name-calling, harassment, character assassinations, among other behaviors typical of losers. Jesus says, don’t spend time worrying about this. Turn the other cheek. By “turn the other cheek,” Jesus didn’t ask us not to defend our territory. He asked us not to retaliate. He himself was the perfect example of this. He was silent before His accusers and did not call down revenge from heaven on those who crucified Him.
Do you have a failed aggressor in your life who is still making your life miserable through tactical psychological torture, name-calling, harassment, and character assassination? Jesus says, turn the other cheek. Look away. Focus on your territory. Don’t waste time returning evil for evil. You have better things to do. And you should expect this to happen anyways. It’s the nature of those who fail to take over.
We are mostly destroyed, not by those who succeed at taking what belongs to us, but by our psychological focus on the words and acts of the losers. The war is won or lost in our minds. The hardest territory to protect is our mind. We haven’t mastered territory protection until we have mastered mind protection. Let’s learn to keep our eyes on our task instead of worrying about the aggressors making noise outside the fence.
- What kind of food do you feed your mind on, I mean what do you listen to, what do you think about, and what do you think people think about you?
- What do you think of your aggressors?
- Ask God to raise your standard when your aggressors think they’ve got the best of you.
- Ask God to always protect your mind.
Live It Out
Don’t let the said big fish swallow you up; even the small fish survive in water. Don’t lose focus because of what you have heard people around you say about you. Stay focused.