Alright it is definition time again! Here are two words with very different meanings. These words are not interchangeable, yet they often are interchanged. Many times we will see someone ask for one, but mean the other. I have even seen people ask for one and mean both. Let me illustrate with an example: Imagine there is someone who is named Trust Me that walked up to you and for no reason that you are aware of slapped you right on the cheek. Trust Me is smaller than your neighbor’s kids and he/she slapped you so hard that you spun around and went to the ground! It is such a hard hit that you are surprised and slightly envious at the same time. Well out of nowhere Trust Me got a look of concern on that mischievous face and began to beg you for your forgiveness. The conviction in the voice and the slight quiver in the chin caused you to let your guard down. The usual pleasantries are used and excuses that didn’t happen are made up like the sun was in your eyes or you tripped over your own feet. Trust Me actually got you to apologize for being hit! This activity gives Trust Me a knowing twinkle in the eye as one of Trust Me’s hands is held out to you. You begin take the hand that is held out to you and you are brought back to your feet. As soon as you are stable and Trust Me lets go you are slapped again. The sound is so loud it is like a book was thrown onto a table in a conference room. Here dear reader is where the lunacy begins (see previous write up) and we do the same thing over and over.
At the end of this experience we are hurt and we tell ourselves that we won’t let people hurt us anymore. We also believe that we are foolish to let people in our lives because the outcome is always the same. We get to the point that we are so tired of letting people hurt us that we try to put up walls. The walls that we put up are put in place to protect us, but instead they just make us feel lonelier. Why do we feel this way? What can we do? I am sure not everyone can relate, but some of us understand very well.
For starters let’s get some of these words straightened up. There are three tenses of time. There is the past, the present, and the future. These two words cover two of the tenses of time. Trust is for the future and forgiveness is for the past. Some people will ask for forgiveness, but they are really asking for trust. Some people believe that a believer in Jesus is supposed to be a door mat. The follower of Jesus needs to be punched and kicked and ask for more. This line of thinking usually comes from someone who wants to be the one to provide this treatment, so they have something to profit from your submission. Some people take Mat 5:39 out of context and confuse the meaning. It states: “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”. People commonly take that to mean that we are supposed to forget what someone does to us and keep letting them do it. The verse really is about meekness, not weakness.
To be meek is to have power, but keep it under control. To turn the other cheek is powerful because if you remember our previous story with Trust Me hitting our cheek. We don’t trust the one who hit us; rather, we offer the other cheek because of the power inside us. We have a spirit of power, 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us so. This spirit of power is the Holy Spirit and He lives in you (When you accept the free gift of salvation)! What a powerful witness it is when someone hits you and you look at them and say I love you would you like to hit me again? We are no longer the victim, we immediately become the victor! Let us examine what the Bible tells us about these two things.
The Bible calls on us to forgive. In Proverbs 19:11 it states: “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression”. This is the King James Version; please feel free to follow along in your own bible. Basically it is good for us to forgive. It is good for us for many reasons. One reason is our malice towards another will begin to eat away at us. The other person doesn’t have his or her stomach in knots and can’t sleep because we are the ones who are angry. The other person doesn’t feel this way, but we certainly do! If we forgive that part is gone away. Another reason is if we don’t forgive others the Lord won’t forgive us a good Bible verse for that forgiving others so we can be forgiven is found in Mat 6:14 and 15. If we say that we are a forgiving person, do your actions agree? How many times when we are praying do we ask God to judge someone else and forgive us? When I do this in my life I see a double standard at work.
The Bible does not call on us to trust. We are to trust no one, not even our government. Don’t speak badly of them, don’t disrespect them, and do what they tell us (as long as it doesn’t violate scripture); but do not trust them. While we do not trust anyone don’t forget to not trust ourselves. Jesus himself stated that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Not many people know that Psalms 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible, Psalms 119 is the longest chapter, and Psalms 118 is the middle of the Bible. In fact to be more precise it is right between verses eight and nine. It is a fitting place to be the middle in my opinion. I feel this because verses 8 and 9 tell us not to trust anyone (to include ourselves), not even princes (government).
I find the important thing to remember is that trust is for the future and forgiveness is for the past. If we forgive someone for what they have done to us it does not mean we have to trust them because they will probably do it again. When we offer the other cheek we should know what is going to happen, we are going to get hit again. When we are hit and understand that this is what happens then we are able to start forgiving for our benefit and stop trusting for our benefit. When we do this we find that our hurt will go away. This is sometimes a slow process, but it will happen. When the pain goes away our cheek will heal, our heart won’t break, and we can sit and enjoy the simple things like the sun!