When You Run Out of Cheeks to Turn

One of the challenges that modern-day Christians face is learning how to be moderate or temperate.  There are plenty of people who can be extreme in one direction or another, but many find it hard to be moderate.

Why is this?  I think I know the answer.  We find it hard to be moderate because we feel it is a position of compromise or worse – hypocrisy.  And no Christian wants to be judged as compromising or being a hypocrite.

But, being moderate or temperate doesn’t imply either compromise or hypocrisy.  It is a sign of spiritual maturity and wisdom.

Take the instruction of ‘when one strikes you on the right cheek, offer to him the other’.  When we take this to the extreme folks get the false impression we should always be submissive to anything that comes our way.  We justify it by saying, ‘well we all must suffer, and I just hope I take it patiently.’

But, the truth of the matter is this – yes, there are times when you must suffer injustice for Christ’s sake and not fight back, but there are other times when it is appropriate to take a stand.  The term for this kind of position is ‘moderation’ or ‘temperance.’

As the Apostle Paul stated, “Let your moderation be known to all men.”  For even Paul showed both how to submit, and also how to take a stand.  During Paul’s ministry he had endured a severe beating from the Jews and Romans many times.  But, on one occasion as they were tying him up for another beating, Paul was not satisfied that this was a beating he needed to submit to.  He asked the soldier if it was legal to beat a Roman that was uncondemned (that is, unjudged).  Paul brought to bear the legal right of a Roman to have a trial before being beaten.  This is called using your moderation.

Of course, the challenge is to know when to submit, and when to take a stand.  But, even though this may be difficult and a life-long learning process, it is better to try and exercise true Godly moderation than to be extreme and be wrong.

Perhaps, Ecclesiastes says it best when it says, “There is a time and season for everything.”  There is a time to submit to injustice, and there is a time to take a stand.  God grant us the wisdom to know which time it is.

 

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One Response to “When You Run Out of Cheeks to Turn”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    Great food for thought here and something that as Christians we all must learn to do. Don’t ya just love it when unsaved people always throw in the…”well, if you were a Christian” bit! Over the years I have had to learn moderation and it only comes from asking God for His God given wisdom. If we ask….He will give! Blessings….

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