Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Conflict With Brothers

Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth.
But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?” Acts 23:2&3

At first we might say that Paul was no Jesus standing quietly as a sheep before the slaughter. But just a moment there, Jesus spoke to the soldier who struck Him, and it wasn't to say 'thanks, I needed that'. (See John 18:22-23) And, wasn't there a high priest involved in that one too? This is Jesus and then Paul, what happened to turning the other cheek?

It may well be that in simply repeating a bit of scripture in 'turn the other cheek', we have missed something in the context. Perhaps we are not to be the helpless victims that phrase appears to require?

Reading both incidents, we can see that in both cases the initial slap or blow was wrong. Jesus and Paul His servant could in no way participate in turning the other cheek to receive another wrong slap for that would be to encourage lawbreaking. Paul even points out to the corrupt hypocrite the breaking of the law. Jesus asks the soldier, "If I have spoken evil...then bear witness, but if well...then why?" We can see the gentle remonstrance of the real authority in the room in that question.

So, where do we use the 'turn the other cheek' rule? Well, for one thing, I do not believe that our Lord Jesus came to publish a new set of rules. The Pharisees of His time had plenty and to spare if rules were the game of the ages. In all things, in all situations and circumstances, we can count on the leading of His Holy Spirit. There may come a time when to save a brother we must turn the other cheek. And there may be those times when we need to stand up in the strength and authority of our Lord Jesus, and ask, "Why do you strike me, brother?"

Another thing we can take away from these two stories is that in neither case did our Lord or our brother in Christ take the opportunity to return the smack. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.


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