Let's use the power of the other cheek to unite and grow nation

Practically, this meant if a person hit you in the eye, you had legitimate right to gouge out theirs.

If they knocked off your tooth, yours was the privilege to knock theirs off. But Jesus told His audience, "You have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.

If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Of a truth, the other cheek concept goes against our natural sense of justice. It does not resonate with our innate instincts.

When hit, the natural response is to hit back - often with greater ferocity.

The culprit must not only bear consequence of their aggression, but also feel such pain as to deter them from any similar future acts of foolishness.

In other words, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, is our default mode - often referred to as sweet revenge. Indeed, there is a joy that floods our souls when our enemy is writhing in pain as a consequence of the evil they did to us. But is the other cheek concept practical?

The reality of human relationships is that no matter how good you are, and no matter how close you might be with those around you, you will hurt one another - sometimes deeply.

In fact, the deepest hurts are often inflicted by closest relatives, friends, or colleagues - people who should otherwise appreciate you. The desire to revisit is often real.

Interestingly, in the other cheek concept, Jesus speaks of mistreatment by an evil person.

"Do not resist an evil person," he said.

This must be tough. Evil people are often those who mistreat you for no arguable reason.

Some are mere sadists whose only pleasure is to inflict pain on others. They are cruel, sarcastic, and totally unnerved. Yet, such are the people we are to give the other cheek! Impossible, we may say.

However, history is replete with men and women who turned the other cheek and left admirable legacies.

Jesus Himself demonstrated the practicality of His own teaching when, in the midst of His pain, forgave those who nailed Him to the cross.

Nelson Mandela was one man in our time who had every reason to be bitter and seek revenge. Incarcerated for 27 years with no justifiable cause, Mandela would have been excused if he took advantage of his newfound power as President of South Africa to mete out sweet revenge on members of the apartheid regime that had so tortured him. Indeed, this is what his fellow blacks and especially ANC party members expected.

But Mandela chose otherwise. He embraced the whites and incorporated them in his government.

He chose the other cheek as an instrument to neutralise his "enemies" and build a powerful united nation.

How did this come about? In his own words, Mandela revealed the conviction that drove him, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."

Thus, by making an intentional choice against vengeance, Mandela not only conquered himself, but totally confounded his enemies.

While many think turning the other cheek is a sign of weakness, to the contrary, the same Mandela observes that "courageous people do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace."

It is amazing, but those who have chosen to forgive, when they had power to revenge, are more celebrated than those who choose to enjoy sweet revenge.

As our nation turns another leaf of history, we likewise have the choice to revisit or turn the other cheek.

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