• Matt Beaney

#331 – TURN THE OTHER CHEEK (19/4/21)


On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding retaliation.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-42)

Those who follow Jesus have a different approach to retaliation. We, surely, have all experienced the feeling of wanting revenge on someone who has wronged us in some way. Jesus wants us to ‘stop, look and listen’; ‘stop’ to think; ‘Look’ at the consequences of our response; and ‘listen’ to Jesus and follow His example on how to respond.


Turn the cheek

How do we respond to physical violence against us? Should we have them beaten as they have beaten us? Alternatively, Is Jesus asking us to seek an ongoing beating from our attacker and seek no justice? what does it mean to ‘turn to them the other cheek’?

Turning the cheek is to be willing to suffer insult rather than take retaliatory action, which would lead to ongoing hatred and violence. This is not a licence for abusers to keep abusing! This is our doing what is going to lead to peace. I cannot give a rule book here; you must prayerfully stop, look and listen to Jesus.


RESPONSE

Am I willing to turn the other cheek and suffer insult rather than take revenge? Take a moment to meditate and pray through the following helpful text,

’Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:14-21)

COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN

Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Particularly, this Sunday is a special gift day. Let's be praying as to how we will respond to this. Our target is £30,000.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Nearly every film and story has an element of the ‘underdog’ winning a victory by reaping revenge on those unjust villains. What film or book comes to your mind when you think of revenge on an evil person or group getting justice?


Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding retaliation.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-42)

Jesus begins this section by pointing out our legitimate rights of revenge. Yes, you can have an ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth…’. People would probably pat you on the back for standing up for your rights! Nearly every film and story has an element of the ‘underdog’ winning a victory by reaping revenge on those unjust villains. However, Jesus makes it clear that people who have received the gospel message and entered the Kingdom of God have a very different approach to retaliation.


Put very simply, Christians are not to give to people according to what they deserve. Rather, they are to be generous with people as God has been generous to them in the gospel.


Jem encouraged us, in every opportunity for retaliation or generosity, to ‘stop, look and listen’.

i) ‘Stop’ to think; we are to be patient and prayerful before taking action.

ii) ‘Look’ at the consequences of our response. Count the cost. Will my response lead to love and peace or division and escalation?

iii) ‘Listen’ to Jesus and follow His example on how to respond. Consider how the message of the gospel -God's love for sinners' - is going to be reflected in your decision.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?

2. What does it mean to 'turn the other cheek', and have you got any practical examples of doing this?

3. What does it mean to 'hand over your coat as well', and have you got any practical examples of doing this?

4. What does it mean to 'go the extra mile', and have you got any practical examples of doing this?


Serving, Investing and inviting

The way that we refuse to take vengeance speaks of the gospel. Let's take a moment to share and pray about this.

1) How do you deal with conversations that are vengeful?

2) The 'extra mile' principle is a massive way that we 'serve, invest and invite' How are you going the extra mile in your non-Christian relationships?

2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?




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