Why turn the other cheek?

Lately there has been a lot of media hype regarding the story of a woman, who biologically has two Caucasian parents, yet identifies herself as African American.

She has stated that this is who she feels her true self to be, who she really is inside. She has taken steps to alter her physical appearance so that she does, in fact, look as if she is an African American woman.

interviewThe media and African American community, along with many others, are screaming for an apology for her actions.

It appears that this has hurt them deeply, whether it is from the lie or the presumption of understanding just what it means to be Black.

Hmmm.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is scratching his head here. Wasn’t just a few weeks ago that Bruce Jenner was given an award for courage?

Biologically, he was born a man, yet identifies himself as a woman. He has stated that this is who he feels his true self to be, who he really is inside. He has taken steps to alter his physical appearance so that he does, in fact, appear to be a woman.

women

I’m not a woman, but I’m pretty offended that his caricature somehow represents what I have discovered just how magnificent real women are.

(Source: LDS Media Library)

I need the women in my life, the real women, to find the happiness that is out there. You do too. Ironically, so does Bruce Jenner.

Of course, there will be no apology coming.

And we are horrible people to even think that there should be one.

Right?

I found myself shouting in frustration at the sheer hypocrisy of it all.

Then, even taking it a step further, I can state that I was biologically born what the scriptures refer to as the natural man. Yes, it could be rationally argued that all of the DNA markers are there that make me who I am.

But through life experiences, this is not who I feel myself to be, my true self.

I am a spiritual being, deeply religious, and very solid in my convictions. I choose to be this person over what biology would dictate I must be. I have taken steps to alter everything about me to fit in with what feels real to me.

I only hope that I appear to be a sincere follower of Jesus Christ.

angryYet, things are approaching the point where I not only cannot discuss my feelings and beliefs in the public square, but that there may also be punitive actions taken against me for expressing my faith.

Makes you just want to scream, doesn’t it?

But it is that very faith that helps me understand that getting all fired up over the whole irrational, contradicting actions won’t bring about a real solution.

During the period when the Savior walked the earth, Rome ruled Judea. One law that helped remind the Jews that Rome was indeed supremely in control, was that a Roman solider could smite you on the cheek if he felt so inclined.

I would imagine that the Jews of this period had similar reactions and feelings to those that frustrate us so deeply now. It is just so obviously unfair.

So when this strange new prophet told them, “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” I would imagine they had a thing or two to say about such outrageous instruction.

Why turn the other cheek?

Jesus Christ 5

(Source: LDS Media Library)

That would be the question, wouldn’t it?

I think the lesson to be learned is not only for us, but for them.

For us, we overcome the natural man by being in control of our anger, rather than being controlled by it. The easier response is surely to smack them back. It is MUCH harder to take a breath, count to ten, and stand straight and tall – immovable if you will – and allow them to continue to exercise their agency.

No matter how wrong they are.

Does that make us weak?

Of course not.

Does that mean we aren’t standing up for what we believe?

No, and here is why.

Jesus Christ6

(Source: LDS Media Library)

We aren’t taught to cower and cry and turn and run away when we are smitten. We are taught to face our abuser, look them in the eye, and then turn the other cheek, testifying that truth is stronger than evil.

Anger has never changed anyone’s mind – at least not permanently.

Minds are changed only when a person can witness truth in action, then is touched by the spirit, and feels the need to know more.

The birth of change is usually when someone stops and sincerely asks just what is it about another person that allows him/her to stand tall in the midst of an attack.

The development of that change comes when our anger is completely controlled; we have the opportunity, and responsibility, to now turn our face back to look squarely at them in love.

shepherd

You know, looking them in the eye, not as an adversary, but as a lost lamb.

(Source: LDS Media Library)

Complaining in the privacy of our own homes about how unfair things are getting does nothing. It’s a waste of time.

Confidently standing in the public square and discussing with any who will listen just exactly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, however, makes all the difference in the world.

Especially in that particular individual’s world.

Jesus Christ 7

I think turning the other cheek is a small price to pay.

At any rate, I’m willing to pay it.

After all, He asked me to.

(Source: LDS Media Library)

 

 

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