“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s confrontational world, we often jump to the conclusion that a sleight we feel is intended. However, the perceived sleight may be unintended, and is simply perceived incorrectly. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius writes: “..let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how he means it; and if he means it badly, let him correct him with charity.” (SE 22) This is Ignatius calling for us to presume good intentions in others.
Even when a slight is intended, it’s often the lashing out of a person who himself is suffering. Our first instinct is to resist “turning the other cheek”, as it reflects weakness, but pausing to understand demonstrates herculean strength. The moment evil is responded to with love, is the exact moment we’ve created a space for Jesus’ presence. Jesus asks us to become his arms, held out humbly, to receive that hurting person.
—Kristine Mackey is the Vice President Advancement and Communications & Provincial Assistant for the Midwest Jesuits.
Lord, help me to assume the best intentions of my brothers and sisters, to see their goodness, and to be kind even when others are not kind to me. Strengthen my ability to resist chaos, judgement, and drama. Help me to be more temperate, more understanding, to pause and to hold my tongue. Help me Lord to always imitate your unconditional love. Thank you for your accompaniment throughout my day and thank you for the gift of your absolution and for providing me with the strength to forgive.
—Kristine MackeyPlease share the Good Word with your friends!