How can we show righteous anger and also turn the other cheek?

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Question: How can we show righteous anger and at the same time turn the other cheek?

Answer: There is a clear difference between righteous anger and turning the other cheek in the Bible. Let’s examine the two phrases:

“Be ye angry, and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26).

A Christian who is not aroused to the point of indignation by manifest wrongs and injustices may be insensitive to some things that ought to concern him. Righteous indignation has a most important function in stimulating men in the battle against evil. Jesus was not angered by any personal affront, but by hypocritical challenges to God and injustices done to others (Mark 3:5). Justifiable anger is directed against the wrong act without animosity toward the wrongdoer. To be able to separate the two is a supremely great Christian achievement.

“but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).

In this verse, the Lord  is dealing with inter-personal relationships, where we should turn the other cheek. The Christian should not meet violence with violence. He should “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21) this way, he will “heap coals of fire” upon the head of one who wrongs him (Prov. 25:21, 22).  In our families and in our social relationships, retaliation breeds vengeance. And vengeance breads destruction. And, sometimes it is important for Christians to voice in a loving way their objections rather than using violence.

Jesus Himself fully observed the spirit of this command, though He did not literally invite additional injury (John 18:22, 23; Isa. 50:6; 53:7), and Paul did the same (Acts 22:25; 23:3; Acts 25:9, 10). On the cross Christ manifested the spirit of which He here spoke when He called upon the Father to forgive those who tormented Him (Luke 23:34).

However, when it comes to civil matters and the rule of governments, the Lord laid down a different set of guidelines in both the New and the Old Testaments. The civil authorities cannot turn the other cheek when people break the law.  Turning the other cheek in civil matters will result in anarchy and chaos in society.  There should be strict punishment for sin to maintain justice and peace.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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