I have written about this many times before, but I seriously think that Pastor Rick Warren is stalking me. Okay, maybe not really, but God is definitely using his daily email devotionals to open my eyes and awaken my heart.
I received a devotional not too long ago from Pastor Warren's church. It was written by a teaching pastor by the name of Tom Holladay and focused on the scripture "Pray for those who insult you." (Luke 6:28) The opening of the devotional went something like this:
"When it comes to being insulted, there is something Jesus said in Matthew 5 that can make us scratch our heads. "If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also" (Matthew 5:39 NCV). Huh?"
This absolutely got my attention, because it's always something that I have had a hard time understanding. My husband and I talk about this a lot. He is a 100% compassion-for-all-I-can-see-your-side kind of guy. (And I absolutely love this about him.) I am a face-the-consequences-where's-the-justice?-oh-no-you-didn't kind of girl. (Talk about balancing each other out, eh?) I do have a heart full of compassion, but when when it comes to being insulted, witnessing an injustice, or just plain knowing what's right and what's wrong, I have a hard time "turning the other cheek."
Reading this devotional helped me to truly understand what it means to turn the other check. It also helped me to realize that there is difference between injustice and insulted. I sincerely hope that when future situations arise, I will be able to pray for those who have insulted/offended/hurt me, and also that I will choose my battles wisely.
I hope you enjoy these wise words. :)
When You Are Insulted, Choose to Pray
When it comes to being insulted, there is something Jesus said in Matthew 5 that can make us scratch our heads. "If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also" (Matthew 5:39 NCV). Huh?
In order to understand this verse, we need to understand the culture of that day. In biblical times, a slap was not an act of violence. It was a backhanded slap indicating an insult. When you slapped someone on the cheek, you were insulting that person. Many times the person would slap back with another insult.
People insult you to gain control. If they can get you to insult them back, you've given them the higher ground and it puts them in control. What Jesus was saying in Matthew 5 is to just let it go. Don't play their game. Give the situation to God.
It takes a lot of strength not to insult someone in return. So how do you do it?
- Remember what God says about you. No matter what negative thing that person says, remember that God says he loves you. God made you, and he has a plan and purpose for your life. God's opinion is more important than any other person's opinion.
- Instead of retaliating, God wants us to break the cycle in a different way. "Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it" (1 Peter 3:9 NLT).
How do you return an insult with a blessing? Pray. "Pray for those who insult you" (Luke 6:28 GWT).
How do you pray for somebody who has hurt you? King David, a man after God's own heart, prayed for people who insulted and rejected him. You can find many of those prayers in the book of Psalms. What I love about his prayers is that he begins many of them by telling God his honest feelings about the people who hurt him.
That's how our prayers should start. Don't pretend to be pious; God knows what is on your mind anyway. Tell God how you honestly feel. Admit you are struggling to pray for the other person, but then ask God to bless him or her. Honest and humble prayers have the power to make a difference in this world.