Meditation Worksheet: Matthew 5:38-42

 

38  Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek,

turn to him the other also.

40  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

41  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

42  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

 

            The underlying theme I found through studying the passage of Matthew 5:38-42 is “Go against the flow.” In today’s society, and as human beings, our natural tendency is to do what feels good or right and to carry that out at a time that is convenient to us. This way of thinking is not God’s best, and often leads us on the same pathway that the world has chosen.

            When Christ says, “It hath been said…” I sense that He is speaking of the accepted way of thinking in the world. Many times personally, I have caught myself justifying an action because someone else has said that it is “okay,” or a “good thing.” This is a sign of giving in to peer pressure and not keeping Christ at the forefront of all decisions. Falling under the influence of negative peer pressure leads us to the deadly statement, “everybody’s doing it,” and puts the thought in our head that, since everybody’s doing it, “it” must be okay! This thought is a lie and should quickly remind us to go against the flow and keep Christ at the center of all of our decisions.

            Jesus liked to do things differently than everyone else. He didn’t hang with the “in crowd,” and was often criticized by other people. I love in this text when He says, “But I say unto you…” In saying this, Christ made a clear statement that His teaching was contrary to that of the leaders of the day. The Pharisees and rulers were getting upset and worried because they saw that Jesus was doing things differently than they were and He was making an impact and a difference. We as Christians should be dissimilar to the world and should not be scared to make an impact for Christ and go against the flow.

            The world tells us to do to others as they do to us. If someone knocks your tooth out, the natural thing to do is to knock their tooth out! When someone gives you a kick, kick them back! On the contrary, Jesus clearly teaches in Matthew 7:12 that we should treat people the same way that we want them to treat us. Although our natural reaction in many situations is retaliation, we should always go against the flow and seek Christ. When we receive a blow to the right cheek, whether it be someone spreading false rumors behind our back, or verbally destroying us face to face, we are commanded to turn the other cheek. Along with turning our cheek, comes turning from our natural tendency to strike back and turning toward God’s help with the situation at hand.

            If your mom simply asks you to vacuum the downstairs of your house, is it natural for you to vacuum the upstairs also? If a Flint pickpocket swipes your wallet, and is running away, is it be natural for you to say, “Get back over here! My checkbook is in my other pocket; let me give it to you!?” Once again, I am reminded through the Scripture to turn from my natural way of thinking and seek what would be Christ’s best.

            So often, I read certain verses in the Bible time and time again and miss out on their deep meaning and the application that they can have to my life. Through meditating on the five verses of Matthew 5:38-42, I am challenged to seek Christ’s direction in every aspect of my life, even when the logical answer seems to be in front of my face. In this short section of God’s word, there are many character qualities that can be cultivated and developed in my life if I take the teaching to heart. Some of these qualities are: generosity, compassion, endurance, faith, hospitality, humility, meekness, obedience, responsibility, self-control, virtue, and wisdom.

Even when it’s not the easy or the natural thing to do, go against the flow and follow Christ!

 

By Zachary Childers