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Turning the Other Cheek

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If you were to ask me what my major sin is, I would answer without hesitation. I am a vain person. If someone criticizes me, that old vanity thing clicks in and I can get downright mean.  Of course, one good temper explosion can negate a lifetime of being a “nice” person.

My aunt, a wonderful woman who passed away a few years ago, lived over 90 years and fought her temper her entire life.  My dad had a temper too.

I don’t know about those two but I do know about me.  My temper is never related to dissatisfaction with you…I get mad when you are dissatisfied with me. I have this drive to be loved, this needy compulsion to have you like and appreciate me.  When you don’t, I get irritated. This is true even though, unless it involves your opinion of me, I am very tolerant of your actions and your views.

If I ever want to be the person God wants me to be, I need to learn to “turn the other cheek”.  It doesn’t matter what I do for other people, how kind I am to anyone I meet or how hard I work to do what I should do in life if I cannot learn to control my temper when I’m criticized, whether that criticism is justified or not.

It seems so simple to say that when someone hurts you, you will turn the other cheek.  But that is not a simple thing at all.  When anger rushes to the surface, swallowing that anger and turning the other cheek is probably the hardest thing in the world to do.

When our Lord was taken before the Jewish leaders and accused, when he was scourged and crucified, he had the capability of calling forth armies of angels to defend himself and to prove the power that others sought to disprove.  He did not.  He turned the other cheek over and over until the body he had assumed for his life on this earth was utterly destroyed.  His reward was resurrection and eternal life.  If I am to be worthy to share eternal life with Him, shouldn’t I be able to control my vain temper?

The next time you or someone else says something like, “Why did you do that instead of this?” can I maintain my composure or will I get angry because someone had the impertinence to question me?  So often in the past I have gotten angry over something just that simple.  I have always been sorry almost immediately.

Lord, I pray that next time I will think first and maintain my composure in the face of my discomfiture.  Let me be worthy of bearing the name, Christian. People are always going to find me imperfect in one way or another because I am imperfect.  Help me to “turn the other cheek” on the remarks they make. 

Amen

A penitent

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