MooningWe all know we’re supposed to “forgive and forget;” that is, just as long as they don’t forget that we’ve forgiven. Additionally, Christ instructs us to “turn the other cheek.” Some believe this means to allow yourself to become a welcome mat and permit others to continue slapping you in the face; but I’ve also heard this particular phrase’s translation explained a different way. The actual term used in Aramaic [Don’t ask me what it is – the person I once knew could read and write Aramaic and was in the process of translating the Gospel of John from the original Aramaic into classic English] was the same for that of the buttocks. Christ didn’t mean to turn the other cheek on our face to be slapped even more. Rather, He was referring to the cheeks upon which we sit! Quite literally, we are to turn around, show them our “other cheek,” and walk away. (This does not, however, give us the permission to moon everyone who pisses us off.)

We commonly use the excuse of being baited into an arguement, or that we were justified in lashing out with names and verbal assaults when confronted with an uncomfortable situation or discussion. Yet I personally believe that if we were to realize that our lives – our very souls – were not dependent on the outcome of that disagreement, we might be able to stave off those brutal attacks with a little action of our butt cheeks.

Psychologically speaking, when we are seriously offended when someone contradicts us, it might do us good to look inside ourselves and examine just why it offended us so badly – why it made us react in such a way as to hurt the other person if, perhaps, they were just making an observation. Might there have been a shred of truth to what they said? The fact that we are offended by what someone said (and I’m talking about the offense we feel when the conversation begins, not when it’s already escalated to the stage of name-calling, back-stabbing, finger-erecting, or face-spitting) could mean we are offended they’ve seen something in us we didn’t want to be recognized. Turning that other cheek – and walking away – will give us that chance we need to “regroup,” so to speak, and work out our own issues before tackling the other issues.

So really, the true art of forgiveness is never having to place yourself in the position of having to be forgiven, or even of having to forgive.

Being adult is about not letting our hearts rule our thoughts (nor our thoughts rule our hearts). If we can’t agree to disagree, or if we find the discussion is escalating into nothing but anger and frustration, then we need to turn around and walk away to resume at a later time when heads are cooled. It really will make for a much less stressed day – and a more Christ-like life.