Luke 6:27-31 (NIV)
27“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
I had to be reminded once again of this principle by the Holy Spirit today. This is a very powerful principle that breaks the walls of hatred, mistrust, and evil. I remember very clearly the days when I had to repent in slapping in return instead of turning the other cheek, and I had to repent of attempting to take back what belonged to me by the right, instead of giving in even the undershirt. I pray that all these tangible things would never have a grip on me and impact the way I treat others as a consequence of evil caused by them to me.
In the movie “Les Miserables” with Liam Neeson, the movie starts out with the ex-prisoner, Neeson, who was a beggar without any money, who got admitted into the house by the priest, and instead of paying the priest for all the kindness done to Neeson and saving him from starvation, Liam Neeson robs the priest by taking all his family silver, and costly household items that he could sell and get money in return for. When the priest heard the noises, he thought there was someone in the house like a thief, and when the priest saw that it was Liam Neeson trying to rob him, he was surprised, but he turned in the other cheek by giving up the rest of his household items to Neeson in addition to what Neeson already stole from him. The priest told him that he hoped with all those items stolen, he would be able to save Neeson`s life from fear and hatred.
This is a very powerful testimony of God`s love to us and the way that priest reacted in the movie- he sowed the seeds of forgiveness and love in return for all the betrayal by Neeson to the kindness he received in that house. After that Neeson left, and he was able to start his life from scratch as a new man, changing his name, his old values of life, and he became a mayor in the city. Neeson became a very respectable man, who treated other people and his workers with dignity, compassion, and fairness. All that was a fruit of the priest`s act of love that he showed as an example to Neeson; he gave in even his “shirt” when something that belong to him by right was taken from him by force.
Here is the link on the YouTube for the beginning of the movie (it`s a powerful movie that was based on the classic author Hugo`s novel “Les Miserables”.
Scene: "I've ransomed you from fear and hatred" - Les Miserables 1998
The same way Jesus tells us to treat those who offend us and mistreat us, so we know the cost of forgiveness for ourselves. I don`t think I would have fully appreciated everything God did for me if I didn`t go through these afflictions. It is going through these trials, I see God`s love so clearly and His patience with me when I didn`t respond the Godly way to my husband and to others; the way Jesus instructed us to act.
My husband took away from me our house, my car, all our household possessions, our daughter, and I had to turn in the other cheek and give him even my “shirt”, but I didn`t do that. I tried to take back what belonged to me, like my car (and I got it through the court order), money (I now have child support payments in place), our house (my husband still has that), our dogs (he also has them along with the house).
When reading this scripture I am conflicted because I know I should let go asking for my house back, yet it`s hard for me to let go of it knowing how much time and money I have invested. On one hand, I don`t see value in tangible possessions, but on the other hand, it`s hard for me to let go of some things.
When reading this scripture, I believe that God reminded me not to get hung up on the past and on things my husband did to me, but to look at the present and concentrate on what`s in front of my eyes. This Sunday me and my husband would be going to the neutral church for the service and meeting with the pastor, and I pray to be open to what`s going to happen, so I could make the right decisions, choices, and stay obedient to God. I have to hash out what`s acceptable according to His word and what`s not, and this scripture is a milestone for me to remind myself not to seek payback from my husband but to look for ways to minister to him instead.
God is just, and He will reward my heart if I will guard it and keep it in the right perspective. I pray to stay on the right track and to commit to giving up the last thing if necessary, knowing that it could potentially save the lives of others.