Jesus started it! He said, “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
And in the familiarity of this…..oh what’s the word……oh yeah…..command, we so easily lose its ferocious speed; as individuals we may wax lyrical about it but in reality, in Kingdom reality, if we’re going to be honest and brave enough to acknowledge it, we’re not really so good at doing it. Ditto for many churches.
Why is this?
Because we have a slow theology; an under-developed theology; a sentimental theology; an infantile theology, a right-worded theology, but a wrong actioned theology. Jesus’ theology was so robust that even as nails are being rammed into His hands and feet, He can pray, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” That’s fast theology.
Slap that face – turn your cheek!
Nail those hands – pray forgiveness!
This is power rooted in a fast theology of forgiveness, not weak and liver-lillied, but the exact opposite – a fast theology of word and deed that roots it’s own declared belief within any immediate context. It is a theology that is fast, developed, robust, right worded and right actioned theology.
The idea of turning the other cheek is so familiar to me, I needed jolting out of my “Yeah yeah I got it” attitude. And this jolt came from a fantastic novel I’ve recently finished reading by Marilynne Robinson called Gilead.
She re-frames the “turn the other cheek” in the context of the story about an old preacher telling his life story to his son, and here she writes of his struggles with another person, “He could knock me down the stairs and I would have worked out my theology before I reached the bottom.”
If an adversary pushed you down the stairs, would your theology be fast enough, robust enough, developed enough to have forgiven before you reached the bottom step? That’s the challenge of Christ-likeness. That is actual Christianity, and not some pseudo-religious guff.
It’s not an option, it’s not weakness. It is radical Christianity rooted in a radical Gospel, powered by a radical salvation, offered by a radical Saviour. That’s what it took and Who it took to save you and me, nothing less and it’s not an optional requirement for any who claim to follow Jesus.
How fast is your theology?
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