38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye must be put out for an eye. A tooth must be knocked out for a tooth.’ 39 But here is what I tell you. Do not fight against an evil person. “Suppose someone hits you on your right cheek. Turn your other cheek to him also. 40 Suppose someone takes you to court to get your shirt. Let him have your coat also. 41 Suppose someone forces you to go one mile. Go two miles with him. 42 “Give to the one who asks you for something. Don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow something from you.
Wow! If you live like this you make it one afternoon on the school playground. I remember recess. Recess was an escape from the rectangular desks, chalkboards, and endless worksheets. Recess always complemented lunch. Any kid growing up has witnessed the playground fight. I can recall several fights during recess.
Why fight? Why retaliate? As a new father I wonder what I will tell my son. Will I want him to fight back to prove that he can handle the pressures of young life, to let every kid know that he is not someone to be messed with? I know that I got messed with in school. I didn’t fight back. It was not a religious decision. We didn’t talk about that type of thing at home. I didn’t know how to fight. I would not know what to do first.
Parents today have choices to make as they raise their children. How do we respond to the “playground fights” of our everyday life? Do we retaliate with fists and cold stares? We typically walk away picturing in our minds what the other guy would look like after we got done with them.
What do we do with our children? Do we teach them to fight? Jesus is pretty clear here. There is no room for retaliation. He does not give us an out. He pushes discomfort, inconvenience, and kindness.
Discomfort? Inconvenience? Kindness? Yes.
Following Jesus means a conscience effort, putting one foot in front of the other, led by the Spirit of God, Christ IN us. If Christ is IN us.
Would he fight back? He had the chance to fight back. He didn’t.
It seems so easy to type that: He didn’t fight back.
We have choices as parents. Kindness must prevail. Discomfort and inconvenience will be right behind.
The end result? Our flesh is defeated. God is glorified.