Be The Vanquished
Although it might seem to many of you to be against your human nature, the Heavenly Law of Love can motivate you to turn the other cheek. In doing so, you will be required to absorb some blows to your ego, but Vulnerability must become your hallmark. And more often than you will like–at least for a while–you’ll have to get comfortable with being The Vanquished.
But God will protect you if you have Faith. Just love people and open yourself to receiving in return their hatred–or their love–without passing judgement. God will work through that. Maybe not immediately, but He'll plant a seed of love in the hearts of others, thanks to you.
My brother Tim and I share a house in Carmel, California, and our families visit there frequently.
One morning during a recent trip, Becky and I went for a walk along the cliffs bordering the golf links at Pebble Beach. Not a lot of people do that, but as an avid golfer myself, I know how to stay out of the way.
As we were walking, a golfer and his caddy came over a hill. The caddy veered off in our direction, obviously in search of a lost ball. He put forth a minimal effort, and when he spotted us he yelled out “Hey, you picked up my player’s ball!”
While my daddy wasn’t above the recruitment of high school athletes and leveraging himself for the best outcome on a business deal, he never cheated anyone, and he never infringed upon the sacred constructs of the game.
And in that respect, he taught me well.
The caddy’s unfounded accusation infuriated me, and from a good bit away, I let him have it verbally. I did not swear, but otherwise I read him the riot act. I was livid in the moment and walked away fuming for some time.
Becky, who is familiar with my teachings on The Cross, and also acquainted with my occasional bouts of egotistical weakness, spoke to me calmly as she said, “You didn’t really ‘embrace the cross’ there, did you?”
Her words cut me to the quick, and in her truth I experienced my death.
Shortly before lunch the next day, I headed over to Poppy Hills for a tee time there. Before I hit the course, I decided to grab a bite to eat. I walked up to a hamburger stand close to the first tee and asked, “What’s for lunch?”
The proprietor, busy at his grill, turned and scowled at me. “Can't you see the sign on the wall?”
I looked up and saw his menu.
“Okay, I'll take a hamburger.” I said.
He jerked open his icebox, hastily unwrapped a patty, and slapped it onto the grill. As he did so, without even looking my way, he snarled, “Get back away from my counter so somebody else can order!”
Usually, every day is a good day on the Monterey Peninsula, but this week was not heading in that direction.
As I stepped back, I again felt anger boiling in my gut, the same anger I had felt when the caddy had barked at me that morning.
Then, I remembered my wife’s words.
The better course of action at the hamburger stand was to take a Christ-like approach to the situation.
I fought off the urge to tell the guy off and walk away. Instead, I paid heed to the “other” voice in my head.
“Give him a big tip,” God told me.
When my order was done and I had paid my bill, I handed over an extra $10.
“Keep the change,” I said, mustering up a smile.
The guy was stunned. And in the next instant, he, too, was resurrected.
“Can I put some cheese on your burger?”
“For sure!” I replied.
Once I got my cheeseburger back, he reached out and grabbed five different kinds of chips from his chip rack. “Take your pick,” he offered. “No extra charge!
“Do you want a drink? No charge for that, either!”
With no one else around, the burger man and I carried on a ten-minute conversation about everything: our lives, our families, our troubles, and our hopes. I got to know that guy simply because I died to myself, and God moved into the situation and created a connection between the two of us.
It was a small event, but a major miracle as far as I was concerned.
To me, that episode is the perfect example of how, when you’re willing to die to self and just Love someone in the moment, Good Things will happen in the Lord.
1. Matthew 5:38-39 You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evildoer. On the contrary, whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well.
2. Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.
3. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
4. 1 Peter 3:8-10 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.
5. Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
6. Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”