Monday, March 6 | Luke 6:27-38

Rick Stachel

This passage is one of two from which many others have quoted and to which they have referred. “Turning the other cheek,” is a phrase that transcends the text and is also inculcated in our secular lexicon. But in Luke, Jesus continues by encouraging us to love our enemies. Which, in itself, is also an often-cited verse. The further reading I’ve done on this passage suggests that we may be advised here not to retaliate against others, and not to seek retribution for harms we believe have been perpetrated against us. These are, of course, not easy. It’s difficult to be always loving even to those who we consider to be close friends or family members. And when we feel harmed or slighted, might our first reaction be a counterreaction?

But perhaps from non-retaliation comes strength. Striking another is not only causing physical harm but is demeaning and establishes a power dynamic that disgraces the one who as been offended. Rather than trying to “out-disgrace” one another through retaliation, Jesus is urging us to take the harder path, and the higher road. Instead of acting through primitive human instinct, he challenges us to act with love, which is how God acts towards us, even though we may often disappoint him through our human frailty. I was struck how Jesus not only preached about this but took it to the ultimate action through the passion of his suffering and death, which we remember during this Lenten season. After being stripped, scourged, humiliated, and ultimately crucified, all of which he willingly accepted. He asked his father to forgive his tormentors.

Rick Stachel is a college professor, and has been attending Trinity Cathedral for approximately a year-and-a-half. Outside of work and worship, he has a longstanding practice in mindfulness and meditation.