The other day I won an internet battle. I didn’t win it by debating or arguing or spending hours going back and forth with a person I only knew from a profile picture; in fact, I’m not even certain I got in the last word or convinced the person I was right. I won the argument by letting it go. I refused to be bated and I denied them the chance to rile me up. I wished them well for the rest of their day, honestly and sincerely, and shut my computer and at that moment, I won the battle.
It’s so easy to argue online. It’s so easy to be mean, and callous and much more blunt than we ever would be in person. It’s so easy to get drawn into interactions that are without benefit for either side. It’s so easy to dish out the worst of our personalities when we don’t have to look each other in the eye. It’s so easy to waste time trying to win over a stranger and to ignore the real work that is in front of us.
Today’s Gospel reading is a part of the Sermon on the Mount, a series of lessons on humility and love. (Matthew 5:38-42) Immediately following today’s passage is Jesus’ admonition to love our enemies. It only makes sense that He tells us to turn the other cheek, because how can we love those who hate us if we’re yelling right back at them? Turning the other cheek is hard, but it gives space for love to grow. When you turn the other cheek, it may feel like you are ducking your head and running from a fight. In fact, when you turn the other cheek, you are turning your face towards God and maybe, just maybe, that little movement will turn the head of your opponent toward God too.
Are you finding yourself mired down in pointless online arguments or even in-real-life ones? Take a second and re-read today's Gospel.
Molly Walter is a Catholic convert, wife and mother to two children on Earth and four babies called home to Jesus. She has a deep love of her faith, her family, literature, handcrafts, gardening, and Star Wars. When not working full time outside the home or wrangling her next family adventure, she blogs about all the good things in life. You can find out more about her here.