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September 09, 2020 · Bob Gass

How to deal with difficult people (5)

“Turn…the other cheek.” Matthew 5:39 NCV

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Jesus said, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other…also.” In Jesus’ day, society was built around shame and honour. The left hand was considered unclean; it was not to be used for eating—or for hitting. So a blow to the right cheek would be done with the backhand. It was a way to publicly insult someone. A backhanded slap was something done only to a social inferior, such as a slave or a child. So when someone insults you, what should you do? Everyone expects one of two responses: retaliation or cowering. Jesus was saying, “Your safety and your honour are in the hands of your heavenly Father.” So now we get creative. One possibility is that we could turn the other cheek. Our enemy can’t backhand our left cheek. Either he has to fight us as an equal, which he doesn’t want to do, or he has to find a nonviolent way to resolve the conflict. So who are we insulted by? “Slaps” often take the form of barbs, digs, and “backhanded” comments. Someone demeans your idea at work. Someone accuses you falsely at home. A relative says something judgmental about you. What is your first instinct—retaliation, fear, or both? With the Holy Spirit helping you, there’s a new possibility. Don’t run and hide. Don’t strike back. Confront the other person with honesty and strength. Be creative, patient, and active. Lovingly work toward reconciliation. It is the reason the Bible calls the Christian life a “high calling” (Philippians 3:14). So, the next time someone upsets you, take the high road!

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The Word for You Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from Celebration Enterprises, Inc. Copyright © 2021