I will admit—and am thankful—I have had very few experiences of being publicly insulted. I will also admit I have not always handled it well, but I know the impact it has when I follow Jesus’ teaching to “turn the other cheek.”
I once held a managerial position in a drug wholesale company in Midland, Texas. After delivering a late afternoon order to be filled for a hospital, an employee expressed her opinion of me. Loudly. In front of half a dozen other employees. It wasn’t pretty. Let’s just leave it at that.
I just walked away, but a man standing there said, “How do you just walk away? I want to know what makes you different.”
Living out the teachings of Jesus points to Jesus.
Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play major league baseball, knew what it meant to turn the other cheek—and he did. Over and over again.
Warner Brothers told Jackie Robinson’s story in 42, and while they certainly focused on the hatred and discrimination he faced being an African-American in “a white man’s game,” they left out a key motivation for how he responded.
Jackie Robinson was a committed follower of Jesus Christ. Robinson got serious about his walk with Christ as a student at Pasadena Junior College. He was determined to live like Jesus—and for Jesus—in spite of how others treated him.
Another thing left out of the movie 42 is that Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey (played by Harrison Ford) shared that same commitment to Christ. He talked with Robinson about the call of Christ to turn the other check. He was determined to walk along side Robinson in fighting injustice.
I will probably never know anything remotely close to the injustice Jackie Robinson endured. But I can follow his example and live as a follower of Christ who turns the other check.
I want to hear those words: “I want to know what makes you different.”
This post supports the study “Distinct in My Reactions” in Bible Studies for Life.