Wednesday, November 26, 2008

homework ~ need some input

So, I'm taking this creative writing class, right? And, I love it.

At our last class, Miss Pamela gives us two homework assignments:
  1. Think of a person you strongly dislike. Write about living one day as that person; try to understand that person
  2. What did Jesus Christ mean when he said 'turn the other cheek?' What does it mean to me?

I got Homework #1 down and ready to go. It's Homework #2 that's giving me trouble. And I find that troubling and strange. The statement speaks for itself. But as I think about it, I can't help but wonder what Miss Pamela is getting at - or wants us to get at. First, I guess, I'll have to read the passage in which Jesus said it ~ read before and after.

Any and all input/thoughts/ideas/etc wanted and appreciated.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Let's see...looks like that was part of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5. Jesus is giving instructions about all kinds of things, telling His followers how to conduct themselves and encouraging them to let their lights shine before all people.

Then there's the section where "turn the other cheek" is found. Jesus recounts ancient laws like "Thou shall not commit murder" and then relates them to other offenses that people might consider less serious. Basically showing people that it's the state of their heart and soul that matter, not sticking to a particular set of laws and thinking they're holy if they just do a, b and c.

"Turn the other cheek" is somewhat confusing, though. He says that if an evil person wants your shirt, give him your coat, too. If he slaps you on the right cheek, turn the left to him as well.

A very literal interpretation would take it to mean that we should let evil people walk all over us and not resist them. But I don't think that's what Jesus meant. I think the verses following shed a little more light about His intentions, where it talks about not just loving your neighbors, but your enemies as well and praying for them. If Christians just love those who love them, how is that different from people who aren't followers of Christ? Most people love those who love them - that's not a huge challenge (well, sometimes it is!).

But Christ is calling His people to be different, to love others even when it's hard - maybe especially when it's hard - and to treat them with kindness when they've treated you with disrespect or rudeness or anger or in other negative ways. I don't think He wants Christians to allow true evil to flourish or go unchecked, though. He Himself stood up for the poor, the persecuted, the condemned, so I can't imagine Him just giving carte blanche to people who do evil. I think we're supposed to treat people as Christ would have treated them and to speak in love to others no matter how they've spoken to us, but that when evil is causing true harm or committing grave injustice, it's our responsibility to stand up for what's right. Maybe it's more about looking out for others than for ourselves?