Formations Lesson for November 21- Turning the Other Cheek
November 4 2010 by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham

Focal Passage: Luke 6:27-36  

This past summer my friend told me a story I will not soon forget. Voice trembling, she recounted an awful experience she had at a local fast-food chain.

While waiting in a drive-through line, the driver in the car behind her began to honk and scream, spewing a torrent of profanities and insults directed at my friend.

Face flushed, heart racing, throat closing, my friend contemplated how to respond. Listening intently to her story, I did too.  I felt my blood pressure skyrocketing as I searched the files of my mind for the best comebacks I had ever heard or used. I shook my head slowly and breathed heavy through my dilated nostrils as I fantasized about the tongue-lashing I would have loved to unleash.

Oh, what I would have said! Oh, what I would have done!

And then, as is the case more times than I’d like to admit, it happened.

Our focal passage for the day hit me right in the teeth.

My friend told me that she didn’t understand what would make a person speak so venomously toward another, and feeling pity on this insanely impatient individual, she drove up to the window and paid for the meal this driver had just ordered.


Why hadn’t I thought of that? Embarrassed, and a little ashamed, I immediately felt like a member of the crowd Jesus was addressing in Luke 6. For all our talk about love, often it is painfully obvious that we Christians have not seriously dealt with Jesus’ words concerning our enemies.

We have qualified, justified, and de-radicalized Jesus until he is little more than a Mr. Rogers in sandals.

Jesus is not encouraging Christians to be nice; he is demanding that we genuinely love those who want nothing more than to destroy us. 

Love of family and friends is certainly good, but it is also expected, and oftentimes we even have trouble doing that!

No, the love Jesus describes is a love that makes Christians stand out in a crowd. It is a selfless, shocking, confounding love that makes others take notice. It is the love of a people set apart — holy, just as God is holy (Lev. 11:45; cf. Lk. 6:36). 

What might Jesus have said to my friend? Perhaps he would have reminded her (and me!) that loving our enemies enough to pay for their meals is not icing on the cake. In truth, it is the only love that really counts.  
11/4/2010 5:40:00 AM by Christopher Moore, minister of education, children and senior adults, Durham Memorial Baptist Church, Durham | with 0 comments

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