Monday, February 8, 2016

Turning CheekMy last name is Hawk.  That is because I was born into that family.  Early on I was a dove rather than a hawk.  For those who know anything about the “war question,” both expression are used.  A “dove” is a conscience objector and refuses to take up arms for the defense of his country or family.  A “hawk” is on the opposite spectrum.

I understand the pacifist view.  It is based upon Jesus’ words,  “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  (Matthew 5:39, also see Luke 6:29).

The view is also held that an “evil person” may take our life, but as Christians, we are saved.  If we defend ourselves and take his life, he loses his opportunity to do so.  So, it is better for our lives to be taken rather than his.

There is a part of me that sees the logic in that last paragraph.  Yet, what does “turn to him the other also” include?  If Jesus denies me the right to defend myself against a potentially violent person breaking into my house, wouldn’t it also negate swearing out a warrant for his arrest?  If I do nothing, which allows him to continue to rape and murder, am I not responsible for those lives being lost since I had an opportunity to put a stop to it?  What if his victims are lost, have I not removed their opportunity to follow the Lord by not taking action?

If someone breaks into my house, I have to make a decision.  Which one do I love the most?  My wife or the person breaking in?  If I point a loaded shotgun at him, I am giving him a choice of whether he wants to repent and be saved, or shot.  If he continues his aggressive actions, he makes my choice for me.  In the words of the Amish, “Sir, I mean thee no harm, but thou art standing where I am about to shoot!”

Jesus told the apostles, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”  (Luke 22:36).  What did one do with a sword?  If you put Jesus words in today’s vernacular, he said, “If you don’t have a Glock 21, have a garage sale and use the money to buy one.”

It is interesting that just before mentioning the slap on the cheek, Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”  (Matthew 5:29).  I don’t see anyone advocating that we be “hawks” on that passage or the one following!

In Revelation, John sees the 5th seal being opened and writes, “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  (Revelation 6:9-10).

If turning the other cheek is a required action because one must never seek to defend himself, why are these souls crying out to be avenged?  Why not remain silent by turning the other cheek?

Turning the other cheek is a principle, like plucking out an offending eye or cutting off an offensive hand.  But, like Proverbs 22:6, there are exceptions to the statement.