“I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
— Matthew 5:39
Few teachings of Jesus are more difficult to follow than this instruction to turn the other cheek. When we are wronged, it is natural to want to get even. Yet God calls us to turn the other cheek. Is this a call for us to simply let ourselves be bullied? To never stand up for ourselves? No, it runs far deeper than that.
When we are wronged, it helps to remember that no wrong will go unpunished. Every sin that is committed will be paid for. “It is mine to avenge,” says the Lord, “I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35; see Romans 12:17-21). This is a great comfort to believers who are being wronged! Every wrong against us will be punished.
The good news of Jesus is that if the wrong that was committed is repented of, and the wrongdoer asks for forgiveness, the wrong is paid for by Christ on the cross. Jesus came into this world in order to take on the punishment for all human sin, so that all who look to him can be saved.
When a wrong is committed against us, we might think, “Well, I want the one who hurt me to be punished. I want them punished, not Christ.” But we need to remember that we too have wronged many others and that Christ took on our punishment, paying for our guilt as well.
Forgiving God, guide us to be patient with others, especially when we are wronged, so that Christ may be made visible in us. Help us, Holy Spirit, to show your patience in all times and circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.