A couple of nights ago, my husband sent me an old video of Dick Van Dyke. In the video, Dick Van Dyke was doing an interview, and he talked about being an alcoholic. He said that alcoholism is a disease and that certain people’s bodies were born with a disposition toward the disease. He also talked about the assumptions people made about alcoholics and their character.
I don’t know anything about alcoholism, so I can’t comment on what Dick Van Dyke said. But, I do know about judging people and making assumptions about their circumstances without knowing the details of what is going on.
Do you remember seeing a commercial or video where a gentleman was grumbling something negative about everyone he met? I don’t remember all the details, but from his outside perspective, all he could see was laziness, addiction, poor parenting, financial mishandling, etc. Every person he encountered was doing something wrong in his eyes, and he went away, shaking his head in disbelief.
Later in the video, he developed the ability to hear people’s thoughts. When he was returning along the same path, he again encountered the same people and could hear the circumstances that led up to the actions he had previously seen.
A bad doctor’s report, an unforeseen lawsuit, a child who has disabilities, aging parents who need care, the stock market crash, or many other types of scenarios can send you into a tailspin that can’t be seen from the outside. The person who is dealing with the thoughts swirling around in their mind might be preoccupied. They may not say, “I’m sorry” when they bump into you. When someone is under a great deal of stress, they might take out their stress on you. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a verbal attack you didn’t deserve?
Giving someone grace when you’ve been ignored or verbally attacked is not easy. Our feelings are hurt, especially if we feel that the attack was not disserved. Striking back and retaliating are normal responses; we want to feel vindicated.
39 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.
I believe that Matthew 5:39 is not about violence and letting someone walk all over you. Instead, it might be about giving someone grace who might be venting. Jesus wants us to respond to all situations with love and forgiveness, and retaliation is not something we should worry about.
There are always going to be people and situations that push you to the breaking point. Responding to evil with evil will never be the correct action to take. Responding humbly, with love, forgiveness, and grace is better than letting the insult fester and set up resentment.
Until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, you can’t understand what they are going through. By responding in a compassionate way, we can reflect the light of Jesus and leave resentment behind.
To God Goes The Glory!
Have A Blessed Day!