Turning the other cheek

“Nothing so restrains the wrong doers, as when the injured bear what is done with gentleness. And it not only restrains them from rushing onward, but works upon them also to repent for what has gone before, and in wonder at such forbearance to draw back..

..And it makes them more our own, and causes them to be slaves, not merely friends, instead of haters and enemies; even as avenging one’s self does just the contrary: for it both disgraces each of the two, and makes them worse, and their anger it heightens into a greater flame; yea, often no less than death itself is the end of it, going on from bad to worse. Wherefore He not only forbade you to be angry when smitten, but even enjoined you to satiate the other’s desire, that so neither may the former blow appear to have befallen you against your will. For thus, lost as he may be to shame, you will be able to smite him with a mortal blow, rather than if you had smitten him with your hand; or if his shamelessness be still greater, you will make him gentle in proportion..

..And just as, after He had bidden not to call another fool, nor to be angry without cause, He went on and required more, in that He commanded to offer the right cheek also; even so here, having said, ​”​ Agree with your adversary, ​”​ He again amplifies the precept. For now He orders us not only to give what the other would have, but even to show forth a greater liberality.

​”​ What then! ​”​ one may say, ​”​ am I to go about naked? ​”​ We should not be naked, if we obeyed these sayings with exactness; rather more abundantly than any should we be clothed. For first, no one would attack men of this disposition; and next, if there chanced to be any one so savage and ungentle, as to proceed even so far, yet many more would be found to clothe him, who acted with such self-denial, not with garments only, but even with their own flesh, if it were possible.

Further: even though one were of necessity to go about naked on account of this sort of self-denial, neither so were it any disgrace. Since Adam too was ​”​ naked ​”​ [ Genesis 2:25 ] in paradise, ​”​ and was not ashamed; ​”​ and Isaiah was ​”​ naked, and barefoot, ​”​ and more glorious than all the Jews; [ Isaiah 20:2-3 ] and Joseph [ Genesis 39:12 ] also, when he stripped himself, did then more than ever shine forth. For to be thus naked is no evil, but to be so clad, as we now are, with costly garments, this is both disgraceful and ridiculous.”

St. John Chrysostom

David’s Nightly Practice

Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent (4:4)

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them (11:4)

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. (14:2)

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. (16:7-8)

Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed. (17:3)

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (19:1-4)

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind (26:2)

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. (33:13-15)

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. (42:7-8)

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. (63:6)

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” (77:2-12)

In the night, LORD, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. This has been my practice: I obey your precepts. (119:55-56)

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (139:23-24)

Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. (149:5)


Useful Commentaries:

Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ, a scripture professor at Creighton University, calls the Daily Examen “rummaging for God.” He likens it to “going through a drawer full of stuff, feeling around, looking for something that you are sure must be there.”

As I see it, King David, in his prayer we call Psalm 139, is offering a beautiful example of the Examen, where He is asking God to “rummage” with him through the drawers of his life, looking for a God-breathed self-awareness. An honest and true investigation that not only finds the source of the stinky things in David’s life but more importantly, offers a “clear picture” of what David can turn away from so he can get back on his trek with God…on the road to eternal life!

8.2 The Examen: A God-Breathed Self-Awareness.

Be a Light

I’m still getting this wrong a lot, but this is the way I’m aspiring towards:

Don’t say “you should not do that to me”, or “you should treat me like this.” This is the way the people of the world try to correct or force each other to change. It doesn’t work and just causes conflict.

Instead, be an example yourself of the quality you want to see in them. As Ghandi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Then your example will be like a mirror in which others see their own behaviour. Then they may change by their own idea. Love is more persuasive than anger.

And instead of criticizing someone, use positive reinforcement, because what a person focuses on becomes their reality. As it says in Proverbs 23:7, “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” so it’s better you cause them to focus on the good things they do, that they shall become more prominent.

8 Areas of a Healthy Marriage

This post is just a rough transcription of the first quarter of a podcast I’m listening to, and I just wanted it here for reference. Here’s the podcast though, if you’re interested: https://podcast.gospelinlife.com/e/cultivating-a-healthy-marriage

“I planted the seed, Apollo watered it, but God made it grow.” A church is likened to a garden. A gardener needs a number of skills. Gardens take an enormous amount of work and constant attention. The bible calls the church the household of God. A marriage is a mini church. It is a complex relationship like a garden. You don’t start with a beautiful and fruitful garden. Don’t expect to immediately begin a happy and fulfilling life. Don’t think the problem is this particular person, the problem is that marriage is a garden that takes skill and attention.

1) Planning and Planting – laying the foundation and knowing why you are married, and who are you in the marriage? what is your role? Ancient culture said the purpose of marriage was to help the security and status of your marriage, but in modern times we marry for love or happiness. Both views are naiive, biblically. The bible says the purpose of marriage is gospel reenactment. Ephesians 5:25-31. “The purpose of marriage is to help your spouse become his or her glory future self through sacrificial service.” Therefore it means love is an action first, a feeling second. I will be the spouse I outta be whether you are being the spouse you outta be or not. Jesus loved me not because i was lovely but in order to make me lovely. we should do the same. this does not mean that marriage should be one way and that u should do all the sacrificing, as it is very selfish to let your spouse live a selfish life. it is very unloving to make it easy for them to sin against you. a ministy mindset wants to bring this person to the full potential God has given them. a ministry mindset will confront, and will not say it is okay for them to be selfish.

The more you act loving when you feel unloving, the more your love will grow. The more you act unloving when you feel unloving, the more your love will spiral down until it’s gone.

2) Roles in Marriage – Ephesians 5:22-24. “wife submit to your.. etc”. Headship and submission. In marriage the husband and the wife both take on the role of Jesus. The husband takes on the role as Jesus as head of the church and the wife takes on the role of Jesus as he is the son submissive to the father for the sake of our salvation. This allows us to reveal the really deep mysteries of God’s character through the roles of husband and wife. The foundation of these roles in creation, if you look at Genesis 1:26. Men and women equally share in God’s image, making them equal rulers over the earth. However in Genesis 2, it goes into more detail, making Adam first and Eve as the helper suitable to him. The word “helper” (Azor(sp?)) is most frequently used of God. “God our help”. A helper can only help out of strength. A helper helps because he or she has qualities needed by the person they are helping who doesn’t have those qualities. So it’s a position of strength, it’s not like assistant. It’s a helper who helps out of complimentary strengths that the husband doesn’t have.

It is in this way we reflect the mysteries of God. The classic understanding the trinity is that the Son is ontologically equal to the Father, that means in his essence he is equal with the Father, but in his function he is subordinate. So being made in the image of a truine God, it takes 2 people to take on those roles. Husbands and wives are complete co-equals in dignity and gifts and value and power and strength, but you’re different as to roles. Phillipians 2, Jesus did not cling to his equality with God, but he emptied himself in order to be our saviour and become a servant and die to save his people. The subordinate one should ask themselves the question, “if it is not an assault on the dignity and value and equality of Jesus to take the subordinate role to the Father, then how can it be an assault on my dignity and equality and value to take the Jesus role in my marriage?” It can’t be. It’s not going to hurt me if it’s defined by Jesus rather than by a cultural understanding. The doubt may arise that Jesus was submissive to a perfect Father, whereas our husband is far from perfect. This illustrates the importance of the husband also being like Jesus, who suffered and died for his church. This means that biblical headship involves servanthood. 1 corinthians 11:3. Jesus’ authority expressed itself by its sacrificial death in order to meet our needs. A head’s job is to use their authority to please, meet needs and serve. It’s not about control and getting to decide everything, the headship is primarily expressed in servanthood. Biblical headship involves voluntary respectful submission between equals. Submission is something that a wife gives, it is not something a husband can demand. Christ emptied himself, he didn’t grasp equality with God. It was always a voluntary submission. Christ and the Father are equal, so this showed that headship does not imply superiority.

Headship is something given by one person to another. The giver is equal to the reciever. And the reciever has the final authority but uses it only to serve and please and build up the giver. This authority it not used for yourself, as that’s not how Christ used his headship. He washed his disciplies feet, he didn’t sit there and demand to be served. He redefined what authority means, it means serving. In marriage, the head may never use authority to please themselves. A head may never overrule his spouse simply to get his way, or do what he wants. A head sacrifices his wants and his needs to please and build up his partner. Go to Ethesians 5 for more detail about that. Headship sometimes involves tie-breaking authority. It rarely involves this, but it does. A head only excercises the authority to overrule something that his wife wants or believes is necessary when he thinks that his spouse is doing something destructive to her or to the family. In a marriage you only have two votes so the occasions do arise where you have an impasse. There can’t be a misuse of this authority to overrule. It can’t be done just so the head gets his way. The only time a husband can use his authority to overrule is when he knows he has the responsibility and the accountability to God to only be doing it in order to serve, and to take care of his wife and his family, and he will be held accountable for that decision. And the wife has to understand that.