The Christian Dilemma

Turn the Other Cheek
Or Get Even With the Beast?

Justice or Forgiveness?


By


If youíre like me, poetry turns you off. Nevertheless, Iíll be astounded if the following does not powerfully move you; inspiring you to prayerfully ponder an exceedingly important message. If you refuse to read poetry, there is prose you can read, but youíll be poorer if you miss the following.


   
Even Better

Surely not!
He shamed you
And blamed you
And you want to . . . what?
Get even? Get a head!
How can you get ahead
If you only get even?
Donít you know
That to get even
With an evildoer
Is to put yourself
On the level
Of an evildoer?
Isnít it true
That even the heathen get even?
You donít need me to say
If youíve been born anew,
Seeded with Godís DNA;
More is required of you!

    ~:~

Surely you know
You reap what you sow;
That to win a fight
Is to lose your blood-bought right
To be raised high
And become God-like.
If we can rule our spirit,
Weíll rule forever;
If we give up
Judging people,
Weíll end up
Judging angels.
So why make God sigh?
Why act like a fool
When you can rule
With the Lord of all?

    ~:~

To act like the rest
Makes you part of the mess.
To be salt
Where there is no taste,
And be light
In a gloomy place,
We must be so unlike
The seething throng
Who as slaves are held
In the senseless grip
Of the need to fight
Wrong with wrong.
To act like others
Is to let them smother
Your light
And kill your fire
Until you are cold and dark,
Just like others.

    ~:~

How could you ever get even,
When in Acts you read of Stephen,
Who forgave while being stoned
And the Lord rose from his throne
To honor a forgiver
Whose love flowed as a river
That would never be stopped;
Who lived as a giver
Till the moment he dropped;
Only to be raised,
And for endless days,
Crowned with heavenly praise?

    ~:~

How do you know
If the one enjoying your fall
Could be moved by the scene
Like mean, despicable Saul
Who became the mighty apostle Paul?
He got even with Stephen.
Granted a new start,
Transformed from above,
He became like a dove
When whipped and stoned;
Knowing he was enthroned
With the One whose love
Now beat in his forgiven heart.

    ~:~

We could talk of David
And the other Saul Ė
How he won all
By not lifting a hand
Against the man
Plotting his fall.
Leaving vengeance undone
Kept David on the run
With the risk so real
That he would be killed.
Danger and dread
Dragged on for years
But despite the fears,
Deprivation and tears,
He lifted not his hand
And proved himself a man
After Godís own heart.

    ~:~

Could we grow strong,
By going on and on,
About saints
Who did not faint
In doing good
In the face of wrong?
Perhaps we could Ė
To a degree Ė
But itís beyond our might
To consistently
Do right
When wronged.

    ~:~

We need a way
Thatís better still;
That makes the supernatural real.
So lift your eyes even higher,
Through the clouds
Of heroes that inspire;
Go beyond human feats
Till your eyes meet
Your glorious Savior.
The One who forgave ya
Turned his cheek
And refused to speak
To save himself
From lies that kill.
In noble silence he stood,
Refusing to blame
Or even complain.
If he was a lamb,
Where was the bleating?
They hit him hard,
But couldnít beat him.
They made him bleed
But couldnít defeat him.
They did their worst,
But instead of a curse,
He forgave.
Their hate turned to rage,
They ranted and raved,
They stripped him and spat
But still he forgave.
They were beasts,
He was a dove.
They ripped him apart;
And out came love.
Blow upon blow
They nailed him to wood,
Spilling more blood;
Doing all they could
To bring him low.
Yet still he loved,
Soaring above
The shame and blame
And roaring pain;
Defeating evil with good.
By this was the Lord from above
Made worthy to reign.

    ~:~

Letís not fail
To follow the trail
That Jesus blazed.
How tragic it would be
To miss our destiny,
Yet we will suffer this shame
Forever,
Unless we face the pain
That never lasts,
And fill our days
With Christís ways.

    ~:~

Thereís no better way
To make the devilís day
Than to fight for right
The wrong way.
Thereís no greater way
To multiply evil
Than to try to stop evil
By acting like the devil.
When you come against sin
In the lives of others,
You either act like the Son
Or the devil has won
Before you even start.
Yes, the devil wins,
Heís got you by the heart,
If in fighting wrong,
You act like him.

    ~:~

Sweating blood in agony,
Jesus refused the cowardly way.
The devil lost at Gethsemane
But still the devil can grin:
If we donít love our enemies
Weíve become like him
In blackening Christís name.
Itís as the sin of blasphemy
To use Godís name
And return
Anger for anger,
Sin for sin.

    ~:~

Get even?
Yes, get even
More like Christ.
He has led the way;
Will you follow?
Will you cease
To shamefully wallow
In thoughts that kill,
And join the Prince of Peace
Impaled upon the hill?
The blameless way
And the painless way
Never cross.
The way that skirts pain,
Flirts with shame
And ends in loss.
Though the Christlike way
Seems doomed
To fail,
Thereís a twist
To the tale;
The Christless way
Is to fume
And fight for all theyíre worth,
But itís the meek
Who inherit the earth.
To greet hate with love
Seems extreme,
Yet every other way
Is to fight a wildfire
With gasoline.
You end darkness
With light,
Not more darkness.
You fight
Bitterness with sweetness;
Cruelty with kindness;
Hate with love.
That takes real courage,
But we who live by faith,
Know faith and courage
Go hand in glove.

    ~:~

To this you are called:
To be like Christ,
Who laid down his life
To forgive
Those who give
Him pain.
The way to reign
Is to be the same
As Christ,
Who sacrificed
To bless those who cursed
And did their worst
To break him.
This is the way to endless gain;
The path to eternal glory.

    ~:~

Weíve looked beyond
Human copies
Who outshone
Those who wronged
Them.
Weíve soared above
Those who had it tough,
Till we reached the One
Uniquely pure,
Treated as the worldís sewer;
Weíve looked at the One
From above
Whose love
Outshines the sun.
Weíve been inspired
By what transpired
When even in the throes
Of death
He loved and sacrificed
His all for those
Who didnít care.
But when things get tough,
Will it be enough
Merely to look
At the One who loved
Till his last breath?
When the going gets rough,
Being moved
By the scene
Of Christ
Giving his life
Will not be enough
To make us love
Like the Crucified.
To sacrifice like Christ
Will seem
An idle dream,
A hope thatís hollow,
Until pride is swallowed
And Christ is seen
Not as things to do
Or an ideal to follow
But as the Lord of all
Who must live his life in you.

    ~:~

For strife to cease
A new life must start,
With the Prince of peace
Enthroned as king.
As without the vine
A branch is just dead wood,
So are we without our Lord.
To smother evil with good
You must tap
Into infinite love.
To do whatís right
And never bend,
Takes a friend
From above;
Who not only inspires
But never tires
Of lifting you higher
Than you could ever go.
For bitterness to end
And sweetness to flow,
Takes oneness with the divine
As perfect as a branch in a vine.

    ~:~

Imagine if you and he
Could spend
From now to eternity
With hearts beating as one.
Thereíd be no end
To what you could do
If Christ could live
His life in you,
But he is the Sinless One,
So fearsomely holy,
That we could sooner
Have the sun inside us
Than have the Son inside us.
To be pure as he is pure
Is to be cleansed by the sacrifice,
Of the sinless Christ.
Then he can live in you,
Doing what you could never do.

    ~:~

Through the price he paid
The commands of Christ
Can now be obeyed.
With him in you,
You can do
What he tells you to.
With Christ in you,
His hardest commands
Are more than demands
Or pie in the sky;
They are his promise
Of power from on high
To do what you could never do.
ďImpossibleĒ
Becomes ďhim possible.Ē
The ďidealĒ
Becomes so real
That people will gasp
And angels applaud
What you and the Lord
Together will do.

    ~:~

This does not mean
An end to pain;
Christ will lead you
Through the flame;
Heíll take you to the cross,
Where, like him,
Youíll suffer shame
And temporary loss,
To win eternal fame.

    ~:~

To turn the other cheek
Or wash your enemyís feet;
To quench the thirst
Of those who curse;
To be a lamb
To vicious wolves,
Is not just to fight
Wrong with right;
It is to suffer for Christ.
And to suffer for Christ,
Is to suffer with Christ.
Thereís nothing so intimate
As to feel
Someoneís pain.
Anyone can give an offering
But to share in Christís suffering
Takes you to a realm
That makes love real.
Those who for this hour
Bear Christís pain
Will forever
Share his reign.

    ~:~

So patiently wait,
For the coming
Of perfect justice.
Return love for hate,
Be kind to the cruel,
Treat foes as friends
And in the end
You shall rule
With the Lord of all.

    ~:~

The time will come
When like the sun,
Justice will rise
On a New Day
When Godís perfect way
Is always done;
A Day of surprise
For everyone;
As each receives his prize
That never ends;
A prize as unique
As his fingerprint.
Itís a Day to be cheered
Or greatly feared;
When some are raised
And some are razed,
But all are dazed
By how their ways
In earthly days
Meet rewards
That last always.
Come the Day
When every wrong
Is brought to light;
When every wrong
Will bow to right;
When wrong will end
And right will reign.

    ~:~

So lift your eyes
And soar beyond the skies.
See yourself
Seated with Christ
Who with his life
Paid the price
To forgive his haters.
Lift your sights
To these heights
And become like your Maker.
Raise those eyes
And boldly rise
To your heavenly call;
Take Christís hand
And conquer all.


   



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