I recently read an interview with Jack Johnson, the heavyweight boxing champion of the world from 1908-1915. In discussing how the sport has changed, he said something simple and profound. Some of the greatest fighters of all time didn’t last because they could punch the hardest; but because they knew how to take a punch.
It’s all about stance Johnson said, the positioning of your feet: “Front foot pointed forward, rear foot pointed out at an angle.” This stance gave fighters perfect balance, and control. And the fighters, who could take a hit, and still stand, would prevail; because once you are thrown off balance, your opponent gains the upper hand.
I am a passionate person, and that same passion that fuels my worship can also fuel my rage; if thrown off balance.
You know what I’m talking about, it’s happened to you;
Someone cuts you off in traffic and you move from singing worship songs to practicing sign language.
Someone uses words that leave you with a deep, open wound; so you sling venom right back.
Someone let you down so you don’t return their phone calls.
I think to a certain degree this is how humans are wired; to survive. However, sometimes our strength isn’t in fighting back but in taking the hit.
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
While this certainly doesn’t mean let people walk all over you; I think there is some wisdom behind it. One of the Bible’s major themes is reconciliation. Jesus understands that sometimes when we get hit; we are thrown off balance, and the worst thing you can do is throw a punch when you don’t have a firm foundation. That’s why Paul makes specific mention of your feet in Ephesians 6:15; “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
You see, with the right foundation, you will have the proper balance. With proper balance, you will be able to take the hit; and have the composure to respond out of love. Notice the proper foundation is “Gospel of peace” not war. You are a member of the greatest alliance the world has ever known; and Satan will do everything in his power to drive a wedge between you and your comrades.
Take the hit. Turn your cheek. Stand firm in the Gospel of Peace and you will be ready to respond with faith, hope, and love.