“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. . . . .love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:39, 44).
Sometimes brethren disagree. Two examples are found in Acts 15. The first one is solved by inspired apostles, prophets, and elders coming together and settling it (Acts 15:1-34). The second one is found between an apostle of Christ and an apostle of the church over John Mark (Acts 15:36-41). It was a “sharp contention.” Paul felt it was not “best” to take Mark with them. Barnabas disagreed sharply! Yet, this disagreement did not dissolve their fellowship in Christ Jesus. We may agree to disagree without affecting our love and appreciation for one another.
Our government wants to bring 100,000 Syrian Muslim refugees to the USA. Some Christians oppose this move while others applaud it. Isn’t this opposition contrary to what Jesus said above? Isn’t that opposition “unchristlike”?
Those in opposition direct us to the Islamic Bible – the Koran (Qu’ran)! They also ask us to look at what is happening in France, Germany, England, and other European countries that have accepted Islamic refugees. Those refugees do not assimilate into a country’s culture. Why? Because they believe their religion is the only true one and all others are satanic! According to a recent poll, 51% of U.S. Muslims want and demand Islamic Sharia and 60% of young Muslims are more loyal to Islam than to the U.S. Constitution. In Europe, Muslims openly demonstrate that they will one day control those countries. Their evangelistic and politically motivated goal is to have Islam rule the world, either through jihad population growth, terror, or both. Al-Qaeda, Boko-Haram, ISIS, and over fifty other jihad groups around the world are using terror to achieve that goal. If you refuse to believe that Allah is God and Mohamed is his prophet, you have chosen death.
Iran is in the process of developing an atomic weapon to be used to annihilate Israel. Is Jesus telling us to turn the other cheek to Iran because they are our enemy and allow them to nuke Israel? Is Jesus saying, when agents of ISIS bring an atomic weapon to the USA to be detonated in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Memphis, Orlando, San Diego, or Oklahoma City, that we should turn the other cheek and offer them free access to other cities?
Are Christians defying Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:39, 44 because we oppose Islamic short and long term goals? Are we abdicating our beliefs because we do not turn the other cheek? By not turning, does that prove we do not trust in the Lord nor believe those verses?
Is it possible to misread Matthew 5:39, 44 and take Jesus out of context? For example, should a Christian who observes a woman being beaten to death, refuse to assist her, because any aggression toward her assailant would not be offering him our other cheek? If the woman resists, is she defying Jesus’ instructions because she resists rather than turn the other cheek?
After Saul’s conversion he returned to Jerusalem and attempted to join the disciples, but they were afraid of him and refused to cooperate until Barnabas stepped in (Acts 9:26). Wouldn’t this be an example of refusing to turn the other cheek until Barnabas showed up and informed them that Paul was no longer a threat?
In the same chapter of Matthew, Jesus said if your eye offends you, pluck it out. If your hand offends you, cut it off (Matthew 5:29-30). If we do not have one eyed or one handed Christians, is it an indictment declaring that we don’t respect the Lord nor believe his word?
Perhaps turning the other cheek has its limitations, just as plucking out or cutting off do? Sometimes we are like Paul and other times like Barnabas! Since “We be brethren,” we may sometimes disagree, but by turning the other cheek, we continue to respect one another in spite of our differences (Genesis 13:8; Romans 14).