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

BibleAsk Team

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

Righteous Anger

“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 role to play in urging men in the battle against evil. Jesus was not angered by any personal confrontation, but by hypocritical challenges to God and injustices done to others (Mark 3:5). Justifiable anger is directed against the wrong act without hate towards the wrongdoer. To be able to separate the two is a supremely great Christian achievement.

Turn the Other Cheek

“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” (Romans 12:21) this way, he will “heap coals of fire” upon the head of one who wrongs him (Proverbs 25:21, 22).  In our families and in our social relationships, retaliation gives birth to vengeance. And vengeance produces destruction. And, sometimes it is important for Christians to voice in a loving way their objections rather than use violence.

Jesus Himself fully observed the spirit of this command, though He did not literally invite additional injury (John 18:22, 23; Isaiah 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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