I recently watched Gandhi for the first time. It was a very powerful movie, with a lot of information on a man I didn’t know much about. I recommend watching it. Perhaps it was watching the movie in close relation to Sunday’s gospel, but it seemed to me to be the only thing I’ve been thinking about is what it means to turn the other cheek.
After all it is one of the hardest teachings that Jesus taught, especially if you are in a tight spot. Our survival instincts kick in, that fight or flight response, and we have a hard time deliberately disobeying them. Even if we know it’s right, even if we have faith, when we are hurt or we see atrocities committed on others we feel we must take action, take revenge, take justice. The hardest thing is to do nothing, to stand there and take it, and even then it isn’t enough for Our Lord, for He says we must love them while they are doing it. It is an impossible teaching if we don’t have God’s grace.
In the movie, a scene takes place where the British soldiers open fire on thousands of people. Unarmed civilians, with women and children, gunned down mercilessly. When faced with such an evil act, would you be able to forgive, to love? Fifty million babies have been slaughtered in this country through the euphemism of ‘reproductive rights’. Can you love the doctors who perform the slaughter? Slaveholders beat, tortured, raped, and murdered their fellow man without repercussion. Can you pray for their souls? Your sibling went too far and hurt your feelings. Could you forgive them?
This doesn’t sound easy. Jesus said that His yoke was easy, and His burden light. Yet looking at your persecutor, smiling, and loving him whole-heartedly, sounds like too heavy a burden. I know that Christ doesn’t lie, so my only thought is that the only reason the yoke is easy is because the Spirit is there to help. To look into eyes full of hate and still see God, I pray for such grace.
Joshua Fahey is a Chestertonian who agrees with Chesterton (surprise) that Christianity was found too difficult and not tried