Monday, July 27, 2015

Positioning Yourself to Take the Blows

I crave words strung together full of meaning. When I read something I like, I write or print it out and post it on my bulletin board, or my cabinet and pantry doors, or on my refrigerator. Dry erase boards covered with quotes line the lower wall of my dining room. Half the cabinets in my kitchen are covered, as well as the pantry door and the door to the music room. Poetry and pictures plaster the fridge.  It's not attractive, but it encourages me. If you want to know what I am pondering, all you have to do is read my kitchen.

Awhile back, I found an article saying that turning the other cheek is a lot like jujitsu.  I love this article. It is currently hanging on my pantry. I've reread it many times the last few months while emptying the dishwasher or fixing dinner.

I don't know a lot about jujitsu, but one of my piano students does, and her mother has said I can come watch her practice sometime. I'm looking forward to it, because I just love this article so much.

Here is what I've taken from it:
  1. People will mistreat you every day.
  2. Jesus taught us how to deal with it: turn the other cheek.
  3. Turning the other cheek does not mean being a doormat.
  4. Turning the other cheek means position yourself to absorb the blows without falling.
  5. Turning the other cheek results in the other person being stopped by the force of their own aggression.
The author provides a list of strategies for finding that strong position. One thing I love is that he says trying hard doesn't work.

Let me repeat that:
Trying hard doesn't work.
Don't get me wrong. I think endeavoring is good. But oh boy, trying hard to turn the other cheek doesn't work. That is truth. I've learned it from experience!

He recommends the following:
  1. Ask the Lord and your close fellow believers for what you need. (Prayer, scripture reading, meditation, fellowship and conversation with your church folks. Note: if your church folks aren't helpful, you may need to get some new church folks)
  2. Work through past issues so you aren't overreacting to a current situation as a result of unfinished past ones.
  3. Strengthen your boundaries. It is not only okay, it is necessary to delineate where others stop and you begin. 
  4. Make sure you are thinking about your feelings and feeling about your thinkings. (People usually only do one of these things. We need to do both.)
  5. Once you've identified your Self, it's time to practice self-denial.
  6. Acknowledge that God is in charge of outcomes.
  7. Look at trials as opportunities for growth.
  8. Avoid passive submission and angry aggression. Work toward a response that says, "Both of us matter."
  9. Focus on the light of Christ in every person.
  10. Learn to accept persecution but not abuse. (I admit I am still trying to figure this one out.)

These ten things position us to disarm whoever is mistreating us and teach us to trust the Lord.  

This article will probably hang on my door for another few months, at least.  Such an important and difficult lesson to learn. Turning the other cheek is a power position. How about that?

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