Matthew 5:38-42

“Offer no resistance to injury . . . turn the other cheek.”  These phrases are among the most famous and most difficult of any which the Gospels record as coming from the lips of Jesus.  If we listen to them long enough to really hear them, before being frightened off by them, we usually hear in them an admonition to passivity in the face of conflict.

They may be heard more accurately, however, as an invitation to actively choose a radical kind of love, meant to lead someone to conversion.  “In the face of injury, choose not to injure in return with the hope that your love will lead the other to a change of heart.”  Your choice not to return the injury may so shock your opponents that they will learn to choose love, as well.

Such advice on the part of Jesus does not amount merely to “biting your tongue” or walking away from conflict, as helpful as those actions can sometimes be.  This radical kind of love only comes by allowing our hearts to be converted by the radical love of Jesus for us.  The more we know ourselves as “loved sinners” the more capable we become of choosing to love the sinners we encounter.

By R. Gabuzda