When Someone Strikes You

Have you ever had anyone say something to you in such a vile manner that it left you wondering what you did to provoke such hatred and such wickedness? If so, you are not alone.

Recently, I had someone leave a review of something I had written. It was, to say the least, seething with anger. Each line of her criticism, was meant to tear down something that I had worked on for years. Her statements were exaggerated and inaccurate, but it didn’t matter because she was able to do so with nothing more than a few keystrokes, typed behind the cover of her computer for everyone to read. Her unjust rant would do what it was meant to do, namely put doubt in other people’s minds about what I had written. It left me wondering and thinking about it for days.

The more I thought about how easy it is for people to sit behind a keyboard and type out hateful spews and go on rants, the more I thought about Jesus Christ. He was not immune to hateful outbursts, nor was He immune to others saying things that were inaccurate about Him. He was the King of receiving insults and attacks and, in the end, He died because of the hatred leveled against Him. But little did all the haters know that His death was actually part of God’s plan to bring about Salvation- even to them!

Yes, Christ was the ultimate receiver of hate! He was the one that I had to turn to for an example of how to deal with people who behave in such a manner. One of the passages that I found where Christ teaches about this is found in Luke 6:28-29. It states: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.

Blessing those who curse us and praying for those who mistreat us is very difficult. He didn’t say it would be easy. He just said to do it. And honesly, I did. I prayed for this person. Not a spiteful prayer like that her computer would break or anything like that – though I was tempted! But I prayed for her salvation. Surely someone who spews hatred so easily is a very unhappy person and probably doesn’t know Christ, and if she does, well…she has some cleaning to do in her spiritual house.

The other thing that I did was absolutely nothing. I turned the other cheek. I didn’t respond to her, even though I wanted to! Everything in me wanted to reach out, but I didn’t. I remained silent. After all, that is what Christ tells us to do. This is another hard thing to do because you don’t get the opportunity to clear up any inaccuracies, lies, or anything else that is being said. You simply say nothing.

My mother used to love the saying, “The cream rises to the top.” Many of you might not know where that originated from, but many years ago, (No, I am not that old!), milk was delivered in glass bottles to your home. The “watery” part of the milk would settle while the good, thick, yummy stuff – the cream- would rise to the top. That became an analogy over time to mean that the best or the truth of a situation will eventually come to light. I cannot tell you how many times that this has proven to be the case.

Didn’t that happen with Christ? He prayed for God to forgive the very people who insulted Him, beat Him, mocked Him, and killed Him. He didn’t argue even when standing in front of Pilate. He turned the other cheek. He took the beatings, the earthly humiliation, and then died a brutal death on a cross. But in the end, He arose from the grave and is currently sitting at the right hand of God the Father. His silence while He was walking on earth speaks heavenly volumes today, doesn’t it? Would it have mattered if He tried to debate those who hated Him and spoke lies about him?

And so I want to encourage you today that if someone is speaking lies about you or criticizing you for something that is unfounded, take a step back. Instead of inflaming a situation, do your best to follow the example of Christ. Remember, you are the cream! You can and will rise above the situation!

Proverbs and the Wise Old Owl

Remember when you were a child and you would watch cartoons on a Saturday morning? (That was the life wasn’t it? ) Thinking back on some of those cartoons, I am reminded of some of the stupid antics that the characters would do – like blow themselves up and only walk away with a black mark on their stomach or some such nonsense. And in other cartoons, there was the wise old owl who would sit on his perch pompously watching the antics of the others. He was always the one that everyone went to for advice. What’s odd is that we always associate wisdom with age. After all, we do call him the wise old owl. But did you know that owls only live about twenty years? Not so old, is he? And what about in the old westerns where there was always that one man, whom everyone knew about, that lived up in the mountains? He was the one who was considered wise – like the patriarch of a family.

So what does an owl who lives approximately twenty years and a patriarch have in common, and is it only owls and old men that are wise? That’s such a silly question, isn’t it? Of course it is. But do you know the difference between wisdom and knowledge and does knowledge give you wisdom? I actually started thinking about this after reading some of the Proverbs.

Knowledge is something that is learned. I can learn the law, medicine, or finance, and be very skilled in those or any other subject. I can have a Doctorate in Law, but that doesn’t mean that I am wise. Book knowledge does not equate to wisdom. Take for example an attorney that commits a crime. You cannot tell me that they didn’t have the knowledge of the law to know and understand that they were breaking it. They certainly did. What they lacked was wisdom to understand that they were not above the law, that their actions would hurt those around them who loved them, and that they would go to jail, just like any common criminal. They did not consider wisdom as something to be gained.

A very true story about someone who discarded wisdom was King David. He had everything a man could want. He had money and women, fame, and power. But he wanted more. He was not content with what God had given him, and he wanted what wasn’t his to take – namely another man’s wife. Just like the attorney in the previous paragraph, David knew exactly what he was doing. He simply didn’t care. He threw away his relationship with God, didn’t care about the long term results, and went after momentary pleasure, which then culminated with deception and murder. Unfortunately, as he found out, you can’t just push God to the side, and so, it all caught up with him, and David was punished. Sadly for the child, its life was lost in the process, too

Wisdom is something that was so important, that Solomon wrote a great deal about it in the book of Proverbs. In Proverbs chapter 7, he tells his son to write what he was telling him on the “tablet of his heart.” In otherwords, ingrain it into your very being so that you never forget what I am telling you. That’s how important that it was to Solomon. Wisdom is considering the outcomes and denying yourself momentary pleasures for long term treasures. Wisdom looks at all situations and seeks God’s input. Wisdom is, in fact, given by God. Wisdom is not something that you get only in your old age. Wisdom can be something that even a child can have.

I find it interesting that King Solomon spent so much time teaching his son about adultery. Could it be that after his father, King David, was restored and began to walk again with God, that he taught Solomon about adultery and told Solomon what had happened to his older sibling? Could David have wanted to spare Solomon the grief and heartache that he and Bathsheba had when their child, that was conceived in adultery, died? I would almost bet that was the case. After all, Solomon would have no reason to commit adultery. He had so many wives and concubines that he could probably see a different one each night for two years! My guess is that David suffered such a pain from the loss of his child and his fractured relationship with God, that he taught Solomon, who in turn, wanted to teach his own child. And this is how we should model our lives. We should grow wise from our mistakes and impart that wisdom to our children or family and friends.

Wisdom is choosing to follow the laws of God rather than the foolishness of man. Wisdom cries out for you to follow after her so you will have a long life and finish it well. Wisdom says for you to choose her rather than riches and glory. Who among us will take riches with them to heaven? Or glory? But wisdom to find the Lord and serve Him takes all you will have, but will give you so much more!

As I thought about wisdom in today’s world, and the lack of it, I thought about so many of our younger generation who have no clue as to what wisdom is, and who believe that a college education will make you wise. My heartbeat and prayer, and I hope that yours is too, will be for those of this upcoming generation to gain wisdom – to seek wisdom and to apply wisdom. Just as it was so important for Solomon to write those Proverbs to impart his wisdom to his son, so it is extremely important for us as parents, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers to impart wisdom to the younger generation. After all, their very soul is at stake.

And lest any of us forget, the Bible tells us that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. So, if he took his God-given wisdom and told his own son to write it on his heart, why should we be any different?