Friday, August 22, 2008

Fame and shame

What’s the deal with turning the other cheek? By telling his followers not to resist an evil person (Matt. 5:39), is Jesus saying we should all be pacifists? Maybe. But notice he’s talking about face-slaps, not sword-thrusts; one kills you, the other mainly just humiliates you. Of course, in Jesus’ day, humiliation could be worse than death. Honor was worth more than money, and shame was just as powerful the other way.

In short, Jesus says when someone humiliates you, invite him to do it some more: “You trying to make me look weak? Come on, humiliate me again!” Of course, welcoming humiliation is almost as hard today as it was in Jesus’ time. After all, why would anybody just stand there and take being humiliated? It’s totally upside-down to common sense.

Exactly. But that’s what happens when the Kingdom of God slams into the powers and values of the world around us. The rules are 180-degrees opposite each other, and neither set makes sense from the other side. But deciding which set of rules to follow really comes down to a very simple decision: who are you trying to impress—everybody else, or God?

(c) Copyright 2008, A. Milton Stanley


Kansas Bob said...

I think that most of us want a neat and tidy version of humility where we simply repent and all is well. My experience is that many times when I am humbled it looks like humiliation.. it is extremely messy and very uncomfortable.. and God's message usually gets through.

Milton Stanley said...

Excellent point, Bob. Thanks for adding substantially to the discussion.

NaNcY said...


For whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:12

Nicholas Z. Cardot said...

That's a great post...and a great follow-up comment from Kansas Bob. How true that we always look for the neat little version of humility. Thanks for the good challenge.

Milton Stanley said...

Thanks, Nancy & Nicholas, for your comments. Hope things are going well with each of you. Peace.

Sista Cala said...

That very scripture came up in our Bible study tonight. It was said that one has to be a mature saint in order to offer the other cheek and yet remain joyful in the humiliation. Then another added that it was not meant to be a mark of martyrdom but a mark of true Christ-likeness.

Milton Stanley said...

True on both counts, I think. Thanks, Carla, for adding to the discussion. Peace.