VERSE: “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39 (ETC)
OSWALD: “These verses reveal the humiliation of being a Christian. Naturally, if a man does not hit back, it is because he is a coward; but spiritually if a man does not hit back, it is a manifestation of the Son of God in him. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but make it an occasion to exhibit the Son of God.”
Oswald’s challenging words remind me of an entry from another devotional I love. Springs in the Valley is filled with many treasures (perhaps we’ll explore it next year), but one of my favorite quotes is from Stephen Merritt reminding us of Christ’s example, who when mistreated, “answered…never a word” (Matthew 27:14).
Not railing for railing; not a word. How much is lost by a word! Be still! Keep quiet! If they smite you on one cheek turn the other also. Never retort! Hush – not a word! Never mind your reputation or your character; they are in His hands; you mar them by trying to retain them.
… Are you misunderstood? Never mind! Will it hurt your influence and weaken your power for good? Leave it to Him – His to take care and take charge.
Are you wronged and your good name tarnished? All right! Be it yours to be meek and lowly; simple and gentle – not a word! Let Him keep you in perfect peace; stay your mind on Him; trust in Him.
Not a word of argument, debate, or controversy. Mind your own business. Be still!
Never judge, condemn, arraign, censure. Not a word! Never a disparaging remark of another. As ye would others should do to you, so do ye.
Pause! Be still! Selah! Not a word, emphatically; not even a look that will mar the sweet serenity of the soul. Get still! Know God! Keep silence before Him! Stillness is better than noise.
Such stillness is easier said than done, I know. The first thing we want to do when accused or mistreated is to lash back with the most convenient weapon at hand. Our tongue. But the discipline of our words is crucial if we want to be like Jesus.
For “when words are many, sin is not absent,” Proverbs 10:19 reminds us, “but he who holds his tongue is wise.”