When I learned this, I had a greater appreciation for the kind of people Jesus wanted us to be! When we are seriously talking about being more like Him, it starts off by understanding His every and very instructions. One of the most seemingly controversial passages is Matthew 5:38-42:
You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
39 But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too.
40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also.
41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles].
42 Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you.
Understanding the character Jesus desires us to have:
1) Learn more of what the Scripture implies.
These passages talk about avoiding retribution and resistance. Our first step, therefore, is to find out how the original listeners understood Jesus’ terms. He spoke to them (literally) not to us. His words speak to (written to equally impact) us as much as it did them.
2) Seek God for vindication.
Turning the other cheek was used as a metaphor. A backhanded blow to the right cheek did not imply shattered teeth (tooth for tooth was a separate statement); it was an insult, the severest public affront to a person’s dignity (Lam 3:30- Let him give his cheek to the One Who smites him [even through His human agents]; let him be filled [full] with [men’s] reproach [in meekness]). God’s prophets sometimes suffered such ill-treatment (1 Kings 22:24; Is 50:6). Yet though this was more an affront to honor, a challenge, than a physical injury. Let God defend you.
3) We are to give up our (human) rights.
The reason for this is so that we can be honoured by God. Proverbs 3:34 says, “Though He scoffs at the scoffers and scorns the scorners, yet He gives His undeserved favor to the low [in rank], the humble, and the afflicted. ” John the Baptist was humble (thought of himself less) when He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.] (John 3:30).
Through this we decrease chances of being dishonoured in God’s eyes by seeking human honour. Jesus not only warns us not to avenge our honor by retaliating but suggests that we indulge (accommodate, yield to, give way to) the offender further. By freely offering our other cheek, we show that those who are secure in their status before God do not value human honor. Indeed, in some sense we practice resistance by showing our contempt (disgust, hatred) for the value of our insulter’s (and perhaps the onlookers’) opinions!
4) Know you are different, by showing it.
Revenge is neither sweet nor cold. If you are insulted, try understanding the person from their point of view. Ask for the reason for the insult and after you get your answers-whether you are satisfied with them or not-go your way. Remember Proverbs 14:7 , “Go from the presence of a foolish and self-confident man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.”
5) Your enemies reap what they sow!
Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who listens to counsel is wise.” Pride comes before a fall. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The higher they are, the longer they fall.